NHS Fife (Major Incident Criteria)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 12th January 2023.

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Photo of Roz McCall Roz McCall Conservative

The First Minister is more than aware of the crisis that the NHS faces. Last week, a whistleblower from the accident and emergency department at Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy contacted me to express their concerns that patients were waiting for more than nine hours to be seen and that patient examinations were being conducted in ambulances that were in the hospital’s grounds. Staff in that department believed that the major incident criteria were being met but they were “not allowed” to call or declare the situation as such.

Will the First Minister confirm that no political direction was given to NHS Fife—or any other health board, for that matter—to ensure that a major incident was not called? Will she agree to investigate why staff were “not allowed” to follow standard protocol?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I said on Monday, and the health secretary confirmed in writing to health boards this week, that although health boards can seek advice and guidance from the Government when they think that that is appropriate, it is up to them to take whatever decisions they think might be appropriate to prioritise critical and life-saving care. Douglas Ross started his questioning to me today by criticising the fact that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has, in effect, done that by pausing non-urgent care in Glasgow—[



The Presiding Officer:

Excuse me, First Minister. Members must treat one another with courtesy and respect. I would appreciate it if there were no interruptions at the moment. Continue, First Minister.

The First Minister:

The point that I am making is that the action that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde announced last night demonstrates that health boards have the flexibility to take such action when they feel that it is necessary, which is right and proper.