UNISON Scotland’s response to the Cabinet Secretary’s parliamentary statement on NHS crisis

Chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, Wilma Brown, has reacted to today’s (Tuesday) parliamentary statement by Humza Yousaf, on the NHS crisis in Scotland.

Wilma Brown, who also works as a nurse in the NHS, said: “NHS Scotland is critical. We have historically high waiting lists and waiting times, record vacancies, fewer acute beds and fewer acute staff being trained, and a social care system in desperate need of reform. Primary care services are also desperately under pressure.

“The lack of meaningful workforce planning, coupled with a severe lack of investment in social care, meant we all saw this crisis coming. Yet the government still has no long-term plan to bring the NHS back to full health. The government needs to start listening to staff and acting on their concerns.

“The Scottish government urgently needs to address staffing levels and improve pay and conditions so the NHS can attract and retain staff. Our patients and staff are not safe in these conditions, and they deserve so much better.”

Matt Mclaughlin, UNISON Scotland head of health said: “This NHS crisis is because of the Scottish government’s continued failings on workforce planning and their failure to tackle delayed discharge, despite their commitments. There are 1700 patients who could be at home now if only our social care service was fit for purpose.

“Today’s statement will have a marginal impact as it is too little too late, and yet again we will rely on the hard work of our NHS staff to get us through this crisis. UNISON welcomes commitments to recruit additional staff and the short-term investment in 300 nursing home beds but UNISON had been calling for this and more in advance of this predictable winter crisis.”


UNISON is the largest union in the NHS. UNISON Scotland represents 50,000 NHS workers across Agenda for Change including: nurses, midwives, managers, domestics, porters and admin workers. The union has membership in every health board in Scotland.

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