Mid-Scotland and Fife MSPs, Murdo Fraser and Liz Smith, have slammed NHS Tayside for their last minute withdrawal from a public meeting on the future of PRI and are calling on Jeane Freeman, the Health Secretary, to meet with patients instead.
NHS Tayside officials were due to appear in Auchterarder alongside Liz Smith MSP, Murdo Fraser MSP and Luke Graham MP to speak to residents on the proposal to downgrade A and E at PRI. However, in a last minute U-turn, health board chiefs made it clear that they would no longer be able to attend.
Serious questions now surround the Scottish Government’s role in this eleventh hour withdrawal and Murdo Fraser is calling on the Health Secretary to meet patients locally to hear their concerns.
Commenting Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“Luke Graham MP, Liz Smith and I arranged this public meeting with the full co-operation of NHS Tayside. We were assured all along that senior medical and management staff would be in attendance to outline the plans for PRI and answer questions. A similar event with NHS Tayside was held in Perth last October and was deemed a success by all participants.
“Now to be told, barely 24 hours before the meeting, that NHS Tayside will no longer take part, is totally disgraceful and unacceptable. We expect a large turnout from concerned locals, and whilst we will do our best to hear their views and pass them on, it is really health bosses they want to hear from, not us.
“We are now seeking an urgent meeting with the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman. We are asking her to answer these questions:
1. Did she order NHS Tayside to pull out of this public meeting? If not, who made the decision?
2. How does she explain the change in SNP stance on PRI A & E, between what Shona Robison was telling us as recently as May, and what Ms Freeman announced last month?
3. Will she now come to Perth and explain her actions to people here, if NHS bosses locally will not?
4. What do the SNP Govt have in mind for the future of PRI? Is it just more and more cuts, which they are unwilling to defend in public?”
Liz Smith MSP said;
“This is a total betrayal of patients across Tayside.
“I am frankly astonished that we were told at the eleventh hour that there will no longer be senior NHS Tayside officials present at the public meeting this evening in Auchterarder to discuss the future of services at PRI.
“In previous weeks, we have had very helpful discussions with senior NHST officials including Mr Rob Packham and Dr Andrew Russell, both of whom showed a refreshing willingness to engage with the public and answer their questions. Tonight’s public meeting was a chance to do just that.
“Clearly, the decision was taken out of their hands, something which the public will have every right to be angry about. Tonight’s public meeting will be going ahead and we will now be calling on the Health Secretary, Jeanne Freeman, herself to come to Tayside and explain why NHST officials were not permitted to attend a meeting about a crucial local issue.”