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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (Meetings)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

I am grateful to Annie Wells for her question. As it happens, before this session I had a longer discussion with Professor Lewis Ritchie, who has undertaken work on out-of-hours services. He updated me on where we are. Our out-of-hours services are undoubtedly displaying some degree of fragility, so the action that we are taking, and planning to take, is needed in order to strengthen the services. That action is part of the whole-system approach and will link strongly to accident and emergency departments and to the integration of health and social care. We are trying to drive forward that whole-system approach very quickly.

There has been a significant increase—more than what is expected at this time of year—in the number of people who are attending A and E departments across the country. That might be related to the availability of out-of-hours services, or it might simply be because of the nature of the weather. We are working to investigate and understand who the additional attendees are and what can be done.

I appreciate the point that Annie Wells makes. The individual who contacted her is absolutely right that the length of time that it took to be treated and the additional travel are completely unacceptable. I assure her that we are looking in detail at what we can do, and I would be happy to discuss with Annie Wells the specific actions that we are taking on out-of-hours services.