First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrived in Dumfries this morning to visit the new build of Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary on Monday to see the progress being made on the hospital which is due to open later this year.
The £212 million hospital will feature the largest single rooms in Scotland – some of the main features in the room include floor to ceiling windows and an integrated nurse calling system.
Ms Sturgeon was joined by SNP MSP for the South Scotland Emma Harper. Ms Harper said: “I was delighted to join our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday.
“It was great to see the progress that is being made on the new build. I was previously a nurse and clinical educator, and have educated many of the nurses who will work in the region’s new hospital.
“The Scottish Government has invested £200 million to build the new hospital – which represents one of the largest investments in Dumfries and Galloway for decades. This shows the commitment that the Scottish Government has made to provide a high quality, accessible and free NHS which we value highly.”
Fellow South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth commented: “No amount of hurriedly arranged photocalls by the First Minister is going to cover up the fact that the NHS in Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland is facing crisis.
“NHS Dumfries and Galloway recently confirmed that they need to make £20m of cuts alone next year, because Government funding is not keeping up with demand”.
“We have a GP crisis in the region, with GP practises closing and merging because doctors posts can’t be filled and last year 300 operations were cancelled in the region alone because we don’t have enough capacity due to the shortage of consultants”.
“A new building, welcome as that is, won’t change the fact that it is nurses, doctors, consultants and auxiliary staff that carry out the care and the First Minister needs to start listening to NHS staff who are telling the Government there aren’t enough of them to do their job”.
The local MSP also criticised claims by the First Minister the Government are spending “£107m more on social care”, pointing out that local councils provide most of the social care and their budgets are falling by £327m next across Scotland, with Dumfries and Galloway Council facing £20m of cuts.
Colin Smyth added, “If Nicola Sturgeon really wants to transform care of the elderly then she should scrap her plan to cut £327m from local councils next year. Cuts to councils have a direct impact on the social care. Labour’s plan to bring an end to the cuts would mean councils can properly invest in local services like care of the elderly. This would take the pressure off our NHS, giving staff the time and resources to provide the best possible care to patients.”