Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser, has written to Jeane Freeman the Cabinet Secretary for Health to demand an apology from the Scottish Government over ambiguous and misleading statements on A and E at PRI over the past nine months.
In that time Murdo has asked the former Health secretary, Shona Robison, on two separate occasions about the future of A and E services, only to be told on both occasions that it was safe. The most recent commitment came in May, just 2 months before the announcement on downgrading was made.
In November, Shona Robison, the then Health Secretary gave a clear commitment to “providing unscheduled care” going as far to call rumours over its future “scaremongering”. Yet just 9 months later and the Scottish Government have pulled the plug on emergency surgery at the Perth hospital. In a press release in July the Scottish Government said:
“All unscheduled admissions in Tayside will be directed to Ninewells Hospital to ensure that all patients have access to a dedicated Acute Surgical Receiving Unit and a staffed 24/7 theatre for unscheduled surgery.”
Liz, Murdo and Luke are hosting a public meeting at Aytoun Hall in Auchterarder on the 7th of August at 7pm, and they are encouraging interested residents to get in touch to book their place at the event.
Commenting Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“For over nine months I have asked the Scottish Government about the future of A and E services at PRI only to be told it was safe.
“During this time, Shona Robison has led the people of Perth and Kinross up the garden path with her statements on A and E care in the Fair City.
“As recently as May she was trotting out the same old lines on emergency care being secure only for her successor to come in and all but scrap this lifeline service.
“Decisions on this scale are not made overnight and the Scottish Government must have known about these plans when drafting up these misleading statements.
“We need the Scottish Government to come clean about PRI and that is why I have written to the Health Secretary. Ultimately, at the very least, patients deserve an apology from the Scottish Government over their complete lack of transparency.
“Over the next couple of months I want people across Perth and Kinross to make their voices heard and show the Scottish Government that they want a fully functioning A & E at PRI and I would encourage people to come to a public meeting the Conservatives are hosting in Auchterarder on PRI.”
Letter attached below
Jeane Freeman MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
St Andrews House
The Scottish Government
25th July 2018,
I am contacting you in relation to the future of Accident and Emergency services at Perth Royal Infirmary. The Scottish Government recently signed off on a plan which would result in all emergency surgery admissions being directed from PRI to Ninewells. This has obviously created significant public concern in the local area. The A&E unit is a lifeline service for people across Perth and Kinross, particularly remote residents. People across the region have long feared a downgrading of the A&E department and this is an issue I have previously raised with both the Scottish Government and Shona Robison when she was in post.
On the 27th of November last year in response to a question at portfolio questions, Shona Robison said:
“NHS Tayside has given a clear commitment that urgent unscheduled care will continue to be provided from the PRI, as have I… Therefore, I hope to get rid of any scaremongering that might have been taking place on that issue.”
This is a clear and categorical commitment to retaining emergency surgery admissions at PRI, and the former Health Secretary even went as far to call questions over its future “scaremongering”. In a follow-up question asked in May of this year the former Health Secretary refused to mention that emergency surgery was under threat at PRI. It has since transpired that emergency surgery will no longer be offered at PRI, leaving it an A&E department in name only.
This is clearly a broken promise from the Scottish Government, given what your predecessor told me in Parliament.
What explanation is there for this change over the past two months? Will the Scottish Government now apologise to people of Perth & Kinross for misleading them?
I look forward to hearing from you,
Murdo Fraser MSP