LibLInk: Christine Jardine on the perfect storm that shows up our bad Governments

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine looks at the “perfect storm” of food and fuel shortages, health service crisis, Covid and high energy prices we are facing at the moment. She argues that the show how bad both UK and Scottish Governments are – and we shouldn’t let them away with blaming Covid and Brexit for our current travails. They were failing long before then:

It must be tempting for those responsible for the well-being of the NHS to blame its current predicament on all the other elements of the storm. That somehow the crisis which has necessitated calling in the Armed Forces to support our ambulance service is purely the result of the circumstances we find ourselves in. That they can look to the example of our energy industry which is defending itself with evidence of an unusual lack of wind and solar resources and a fire on an interconnector.

But that would be to ignore the reality which we have all experienced in different ways over recent, pre-pandemic years. The damage done by the increasing centralisation of public services and decision-making in Scotland.

On top of everything else, the FLu jag programme has been a nightmare this year.

Then a friend told me they had turned up on time for her pre-arranged flu jag to discover the venue she had been instructed to attend was closed and locked.

Everywhere you look our most valued public service is fraying at the seams. And there is more than one burden falling on more than one set of shoulders.

Think for a moment about someone living alone, shielding for most of the past 500 days. It’s nearly October. Flu season.

Friends with chronic conditions tell me they feel a responsibility to not get ill. They worry that if their asthma or diabetes betrays them in the coming months, or they slip on an ungritted pavement, that help won’t come.

Dark nights and poorer weather are no longer a change of season. They are a threat. People are scared.

Over the past 18 months they needed us, their elected representatives to work together. To come together to find practical, tangible solutions to deliver what we all need.

But that is not the Scottish Government’s approach:

Friends with chronic conditions tell me they feel a responsibility to not get ill. They worry that if their asthma or diabetes betrays them in the coming months, or they slip on an ungritted pavement, that help won’t come.

Dark nights and poorer weather are no longer a change of season. They are a threat. People are scared.

Over the past 18 months they needed us, their elected representatives to work together. To come together to find practical, tangible solutions to deliver what we all need.

Practically, it will drive Scots to airports south of the Border while hurting ours and the travel industry in general. Politically, it looks like they can’t wait to throw the toys out of the proverbial pram. It achieves nothing.

And achieving nothing feels like the destination Scotland has arrived at. A&E waiting times are the worst on record for the fifth time in six weeks. Elderly constituents desperate for their flu vaccine have been left to travel to a vaccine hub too far away from their home. The Red Cross and the military are being deployed.

You can read the whole article here.

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8 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 29th Sep '21 - 5:49pm

    Strange. I received my flu jag 2 weeks ago – the earliest I have ever had it in 15 years. I had been impressed with the organisation of this, until I read Christine Jardine’s article that has painted a very different picture.

  • John Marriott 29th Sep '21 - 7:21pm

    My wife and I had our flu jab at our local Co op Pharmacy. It’s just a pity we couldn’t have had our Covid booster jab there at the same time as we are eligible as senior citizens having had our second dose six months ago. I guess it will be up to our GP surgery to sort that out. They haven’t even started on flu yet. I just wonder some times what they are actually doing. Mind you, they are a ‘practice’ after all. Just practising then😀😀!

  • Jayne mansfield 29th Sep '21 - 8:44pm

    @ John Marriott.
    Try ringing 119 then speaking to appointments. You will need the date of your 2nd Covid jab and your NHS number at hand.

    I have been pro-active and booked an appointment for a booster for my husband in this way, but maybe I was successful because someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable gets priority over people over 75.I quite forgot to ask for one for me so am unsure if that is the case.

    It is worth a phone call.

  • jayne Mansfield, 1st Oct '21 - 5:35pm

    @ John Marriot.
    I have now put the 119 Appointment booking line to the test and as an over 75 yr old, I have an appointment in one weeks time. There is advice on how you can book online if you find it preferable to having an appointment made over the phone.

    Have the information in the above post to hand.

  • My fragile and very nervous 81-year-old friend booked a jab online for a week ahead. Two days beforehand she got a text cancelling it and asking her to rebook. When she went online the system claimed he wasn’t eligible and refused access to the booking service. When we rang 119 we were told ‘That’s the fourth of these I’ve had today – I’ll report it as a fault – please allow five working days for it to be fixed and someone will phone you.’

    She is frantic as she is convinced that a) the booster is essential because the original vaccinations have now worn off, and b) that she’ll miss the call and will never be able to get another jab because she will have disappeared from all the records. I am unable to convince her that neither of these is the case.

  • Jayne mansfield 1st Oct '21 - 6:59pm

    @ Margaret,
    If your friend has not had a response within 5 working days, would someone be able to book online for her?

    It is important that six full months have passed since her last jab when she tries to make the appointment ( even if it will be more than 6 months when she would actually receive the jab), or no appointment will be given. Give an explanation that there has been an error, and make sure that you have the NHS number as well as the date of her second jab at hand.

    I hope things work out for her.

    Be firm and ask what the problem is , because of the frailty and nervousness of the person. She is very wise to get the booster as soon as allowed. Sometimes one has to be persistent. and not take no for an answer.

  • jane mansfield 1st Oct '21 - 7:01pm

    @ Margaret,
    Sorry not online but by phone which is how I booked.

  • @Jayne Mansfield,
    I’m doing all that already – I did the first online booking with her, made the attempt after cancellation and then spoke to 119 on her behalf. She is fully eligible but ‘the system’ doesn’t think so. No response yet – another working day to wait.

    Meanwhile people with severely-compromised immune systems are apparently unable to make bookings either. Something definitely isn’t working this time around.

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