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Scottish Labour calls for urgent action to fill staffing gaps at a flagship hospital

SCOTTISH Labour has called for urgent action to fill staffing gaps at a flagship hospital to avoid deepening the looming winter crisis of staff absences. 

Workers at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan, Glasgow, have reported severe strains on services in recent months with elective surgery cancelled or postponed, a shortage of acute beds, A&E struggling to cope and ambulances queueing.  

Statistics obtained by Labour show that Covid-related absences have risen sharply at the hospital, with the daily average number of staff absent due to Covid at 56 in the week starting August 26, having more than doubled in nine weeks. 

The statistics show that nursing and midwifery services have been particularly badly hit, with 57 per cent of Covid absences at the hospital related to these staff groups since July 1.

With the hospital already under immense strain and winter looming, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has called for action to fill the staffing gaps.

She said: “It is clear that Scotland’s flagship hospital is in the midst of a staffing crisis.  

“With operations being cancelled and the Red Cross being drafted in to assist at the hospital, it is clear that lives are at risk if action is not taken now.  

“If action is not taken now to plug these huge gaps in staffing, the situation at the hospital will only deteriorate further.”  

The concerns come as former chief executive of NHS Scotland Paul Gray said the health service needs “radical surgery” in order to meet its challenges, claiming a combination of demographic changes, funding and the availability of skills had been putting pressure on the NHS even before the pandemic.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde said the figures were selective and measures taken by the health board have seen absence rates drop in recent weeks.

Hundreds of newly qualified nurses have also joined, the spokesman said, with targeted redeployment of key staff supporting services in need.

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