FMQs: Ukrainian refugee returned to Kyiv to visit doctor due to long waits on NHS

FMQs: Ukrainian refugee returned to Kyiv to visit doctor due to long waits on NHS

Updated: 24 days, 10 hours, 18 minutes, 23 seconds ago
FMQs: Ukrainian refugee returned to Kyiv to visit doctor due to long waits on NHS

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A Ukrainian refugee living in Scotland returned to her home country to see a doctor because it was “less daunting” than the wait on the NHS, MSPs have heard.

During a First Minister’s Questions which was dominated by the crisis in the NHS, Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton raised the case of a young woman who travelled to Kyiv for medical care because of long delays she faced in Scotland.

The NHS across the United Kingdom is facing arguably the most difficult winter in its history as high numbers of flu and Covid cases put further strain on already stretched services.

At FMQs, MSPs also heard the case of an 80-year-old man whose family waited over 12 hours for an ambulance after he broke his neck at Hogmanay.

Raising the case of the Ukrainian refugee, 22-year-old Maria, Cole-Hamilton said she suffers from a hormonal thyroid condition which requires regular testing and treatment.

“The wait was so long that it actually made more sense for her to risk travelling back to a warzone to see her doctor in Kyiv. The air raid sirens, drone strikes and cruise missile attacks of the Ukrainian capital were less daunting to Maria than the wait for treatment in Scotland’s NHS. That is appalling.”

Earlier, the Chamber had heard from Tory leader Douglas Ross who quoted an NHS whistleblower as saying medical were “struggling to provide first world care in what feels like a third world environment”.

He raised the case of an 80-year-old man whose family had to make seven 999 calls and wait more than 12 hours for an ambulance after he broke his neck at Hogmanay.

"First Minister, surely for the good of Scotland, it's time to sack Humza Yousaf," Ross said.

Yesterday, Scotland’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, paused non-urgent procedures to prioritise emergencies and cancer care.

Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly defended her beleaguered health secretary, saying the NHS was under pressure across the UK due, in part, to high numbers of flu and Covid cases.

She said: “I think it insults people’s intelligence to suggest the problems being encountered in the NHS in Scotland which are the same as the problems being encountered elsewhere, are somehow down to the health secretary.

“Is it, for example, the fault of Humza Yousaf that the kind of action that Greater Glasgow & Clyde announced last night is also being taken in health services in south London, Surrey, York, Scarborough, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, in Southampton and in Portsmouth? These are unprecedented pressures which we continue to support our NHS to address.”

Speaking after FMQs, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “Sticking plasters will not solve this NHS crisis.

“We heard directly from staff about the impact that this crisis is having on them. They told us, in their words, that this is causing them moral injury.

“After fifteen years of the SNP, our NHS is broken, and the system is failing. Staff are being asked to do the impossible. Patients are being asked to accept the unacceptable. Lives are being lost.

“The people who caused the problem can’t be the ones to fix it.”

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