5 Mar 2013

Paisley Daily Express - 4 March 2013

SNP’s hidden waiting lists

In June 2011 the SNP Government told us that only 3 per cent of patients had to wait more than nine weeks for an important appointment. Now a report by watchdog body Audit Scotland reveals that the real figure is 23 per cent if numbers for those classed as unavailable to attend for treatment are included. Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have been trying to cover up the facts by claiming there is no hidden waiting list. The figures tell a different story. And of course Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have form in denying the facts. The Paisley Daily Express exposed the story of patients at the RAH going without blankets while Nicola and Alex denied this was the case. History shows that the Paisley Daily Express was correct and that the SNP’s dynamic duo were just making up stories. Now we find there is a real crisis in Accident and Emergency. We have heard of patients waiting for over 12 hours on trolleys in corridors, an uncomfortable and undignified experience. Just last week I had to write to the Scottish Government about a constituent who had been left on a trolley for over five hours. Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond claim that if you raise concerns about the experience of your constituents, then you are talking down the NHS. Not true. It is not the staff who are creating these problems. It’s the mismanagement of the SNP Government which has slashed the number of nurses and other staff in our hospitals. Alex Salmond likes to think that because he has a majority in the Scottish Parliament, he can play fast and loose with the facts. The welfare of Renfrewshire patients is too important to be brushed off. It’s time for Alex Salmond to get a grip on what’s happening in our hospitals.

What a giveaway!

I’m not surprised that more than 100 groups have registered for a share of the tremendous £10,000 cash-pot being put up by the Paisley Daily Express to help community groups, charities and organisations in Renfrewshire. Times are tough and every penny counts. So many of our deserving causes are struggling financially as grants dry up, donations fall and funding ends. This fantastic giveaway from our local daily paper may just be a lifeline for some. There’s a huge variety of applications ranging from the Boys Brigade, Girl Guides, Scouts and Brownies to hospices, music groups, charities, pensioner and lunch clubs, schools, charities and the children’s ward at the RAH to mention a few. Each is a deserving cause and I understand all you have to do is collect tokens from the paper every day and send them off to back your favourite. Congratulations to all at the PDE for this effort which will help make a difference in our communities.

Vintage idea

I recently dropped in to St Vincent’s Hospice to catch up with the team and find out how their fundraising efforts were progressing in this, their 25th Anniversary year. I got an unexpected trip down memory lane when we stopped for a coffee at the Barn Tearoom and got the chance to browse through their recently opened Vintage Shop. There’s a wonderful array of items for sale at reasonable prices and I would recommend a visit, if like me, you like a little bit of nostalgia and want to help boost their funds. The hospice has come a long way from their small beginnings in North Road, Johnstone to where they are now and the people of Renfrewshire have played a major role in that. I am pictured with Brona McGee, director of care at the hospice who showed me around the shop.

Elaine’s a star

Congratulations to caring mum Elaine Smith who has been presented with a Walker of the Year Award. For the past five years Elaine has been getting up with the lark to walk with children to Thorn Primary School in Johnstone making sure they arrive safely. The award from STAR, (School Travel Accredited and Recognised) a strategic framework that encourages and rewards school to adopt safer and active travel behaviour, is well deserved.

Call the cops

It was disappointing to hear that Linwood Sports Hub had become the latest site to be targeted by scrap metal thieves with cabling worth £450 stolen. Heavy machinery operates there on a daily basis and someone could be seriously hurt. Police are asking those in the scrap metal or construction trades to contact them if they are offered building materials. I would urge anyone who knows anything to contact them on 01505 404100.