UNISON response to First Minister’s statement on crisis in NHS Scotland 

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, Wilma Brown, has reacted to today’s (Monday) statement by the First Minister on the NHS crisis in Scotland.

Wilma Brown, who also works as a nurse in the NHS, said: “UNISON has been warning of a crisis in the NHS long before Covid hit. Staff like myself, who work in the service, have highlighted the lack of meaningful workforce planning, year after year for the past decade which has led to a critical situation around vacancy levels and this, coupled with a severe lack of investment in social care, meant we all saw this crisis coming.

“UNISON has been saying for months that we are heading for a serious winter crisis. We have had alerts and reports which were indicating the situation we now find ourselves in. When we can’t cope in the summer, it tells you there is absolutely no give in the system.

“NHS staff are being pushed to the absolute limit. The First Minister’s recognition that staff are working hard and delivering truly excellent care has never been in doubt – but it is simply not enough. Our patients and staff are not safe in these conditions and they deserve so much better. The Scottish government should never put the country in this situation again, we need a meaningful long-term plan to bring the NHS back to full health which means recruiting more staff now, a significant reform to social care and investment in all health and care staff in Scotland.”