20,000 waited over 4 hours at new Southern hospital

20,000 waited over 4 hours at new Southern hospital

New research from the Scottish Liberal Democrats has revealed that almost 20,000 patients waited over 4 hours for emergency treatment at the flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital since it opened its doors in May 2015. The £842 million hospital, formerly the Southern General Hospital, serves patients across the south of Glasgow and surrounding areas, including Rutherglen and Cambuslang.

The analysis shows that –

  • 19,577 out of 159,123 patients attending A&E have waited more than 4 hours (an average performance rate of just 87.7% against the 95% target)
  • It has only hit the target during two weeks out of 92 (in the weeks ending 6 December 2015 and 3 July 2016)
  • The worst week (ending 8 Jan 2017) saw 465 patients wait more than 4 hours (25.2% of attendances)
  • The trend in performance is downwards.

Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown criticized health bosses and Scottish government Ministers for the failings of the hospital.

Robert Brown said:

“This analysis confirms that, for almost 2 years, SNP Ministers and Health Board chiefs have been totally unable to get a grip on the situation. Their predictions that all would be well after initial teething troubles have been falsified. Constant assurances that they would achieve targets have fallen in the Clyde.

Despite years of planning, there is a strong sense that key departments have insufficient capacity and that bed numbers were chopped too much. Far from hitting targets, the performance is getting worse as the graph clearly shows.

Things can’t continue like this. Patients and families need to know what has gone wrong and what is being done about it.

A & E staff work hard in a very stressful environment – but the Scottish government and NHS bosses have to make sure they have the resources, support and systems to do their job.

UK Public opinion on Europe will change

UK Public opinion on Europe will change – just like the Iraq War

There is a long way yet to go in the debate over Britain’s future in the European Union, according to Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown. Robert Brown said it was “highly likely” that public opinion on Europe would change dramatically, just as it did on the Iraq War.

Robert Brown said:

“There is a strong case for giving the public a say on the terms of Brexit when the Prime Minister has concluded her negotiations. It is the right and democratic thing to do. When the EU referendum was held, there was no plan, no White Paper, no negotiating brief. People had contradictory ideas as to what they wanted.

My personal view is that the case for Brexit will unravel during the negotiations under the weight of the many challenges. There could be a total change round of opinion, just as there was over the Iraq War.

In April 2003, a big majority thought that the Iraq War was justified. A YouGov poll at that time showed support for the Iraq War stood at 66%. The Liberal Democrats and Charles Kennedy got howled at in Parliament and by the media for opposing the war.  But opinions changed. By September 2004 support had fallen to 38%. Now you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thought it had been a good thing.

If the Brexit deal damages jobs, the economy, the environment and our security – when we see the real consequences of Brexit – it will be time to ask a new question and have a public vote on the outcome.

Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for Europe, the only Party doing so without hidden agendas.”

Robert Brown drops in on “Bin It” Project at Fernhill School

Councillor Robert Brown drops in on “Bin It” Project at Fernhill School

The award winning* drama-based education programme, Bin it!, which educates students about responsibility and litter, has launched its eighth annual nationwide tour of schools. The Bin it! tour encourages young people to work together to make a lasting change to local areas and keep their environment tidy.

This year, the long running Bin it! project is visiting over 50 secondary schools across the country – from Glasgow to Birmingham to Cardiff. Last week the tour visited a range of schools from across Rutherglen, Glasgow and Motherwell including Fernhill School in Rutherglen, Hyndland Secondary School, Lomond School, Our Lady’s High, The Glasgow Academy, St. Mungo’s Academy, John Ogilvie High School, Govan High School and Whitehill Secondary School.

Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown popped in to see and support the project at Fernhill School.

Developed by The Wrigley Company, in partnership with specialist education consultancy Rapport, Bin it! is targeted at 11-13 year olds and is designed to explore the issues and impact of littering, helping students to understand why it is so important to take personal responsibility for correct litter disposal. Since it began, the programme has visited over 400 schools in the UK, reaching over 56, 000 pupils.

The Bin it! team of actors aims to engage and educate young people, encouraging pupils to make positive choices about the responsible disposal of litter in their environment and urging them to take pride in their community. Bin it! has a proven record of success, with results showing that a significant proportion of pupils think more about gum disposal having taken part in the session.

Robert Brown said:

“It is great to see projects like this which engage with children and play a positive part in building a sense of community and citizenship in young people. It certainly engaged the attention of the young people. I think it has made them go away and think about what they do with their litter.

The actors – Chris Mosely and Terri Musson – were very good at making the point using humour in a way which the girls related to.”

Louisa Rowntree, Communications Manager, Wrigley said:

 “The Bin it! project has a long record of success and it is great that so many more schools have the chance to benefit from it this year. We hope that 2013 will be our most successful tour to date, reaching as many young people as possible and reinforcing the message of keeping our communities litter free, up and down the country.”

* Bin it! has won two IVCA Clarion Awards for Best Live Event and Best Printed Materials

Campaign against Dog fouling

Statement by Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown on Rutherglen Reformer campaign against Dog fouling

Robert Brown said:
“I am delighted to support the Reformer campaign Nae Messin’ against dog fouling – many congratulations to the paper for running it.

I have long campaigned against the nuisance of dog fouling and irresponsible owners who don’t or won’t pick up after their pets. Most dog owners are highly responsible but a minority in all areas cause a disproportionate problem. Dog faeces are a danger to health, particularly of small children, as well as an unpleasant hazard in our streets in Rutherglen.

Blind people too, or people with sight loss, are particularly badly affected because they can’t see the dog droppings. This includes many elderly people whose eyesight is poor.

The Reformer campaign will match the Council’s forthcoming “Wanted” campaign to target dog fouling offenders. The Council are authorising more staff to impose on the spot penalties for offenders. I am particularly keen on the large correx posters which will go up in targeted areas. I have seen this work well in areas like North East Fife.

I hope local people and local groups will really get on board with these efforts to tackle the menace of dog fouling. The Helpline number is being widely publicised and information about offenders is hugely helpful in enforcement.”

SNP Walkout undermines democracy

A premeditated walk out by the Opposition SNP Group from Wednesday’s meeting of South Lanarkshire Council has been attacked as “undermining democratic accountability” by Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown. Councillor Brown was speaking at the Council meeting following the walkout.

Robert Brown said afterwards:

“The SNP had a grievance about proposed changes in the membership of the Divisional Licensing Boards, SPT and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. They tried to stop the changes being discussed by a rather spurious claim that they were illegal. They were then told by Council officials they were wrong. Rather than put their case in debate to the Council, they all walked out – clearly a move that had been decided on in advance.

I think most people will see this as very petty – Councillors are certainly not elected to stage political stunts and walk out of meetings. It is a very arrogant and undemocratic way of proceeding. Speaking personally, I had not made my mind up how to vote and wanted to hear the arguments on the matter.

Since I was elected in May, I have been astonished how ineffective the SNP have been on South Lanarkshire Council. They very rarely ask questions, and I have hardly ever seen them move a motion on a matter of substance. As the main Opposition group on the Council, their job should be to articulate alternative choices to those of the Administration. ”

Action Plan to tackle flooding

Action Plan to tackle flooding

South Lanarkshire Council is tackling the problem of flooding both at a strategic level and at local flooding “hotspots”, according to a report by officials to the Council’s Enterprise Services Committee. The report had been prepared following a call by Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown.

As well as clearing gullies, and giving priority attention to high risk locations, plans are being prepared for larger scale projects to tackle situations where there is a greater risk of larger scale flooding, not least for the Cathkin Braes.

Robert Brown said:

“Many parts of Rutherglen and Cambuslang have experienced repeated localised flooding after heavy rain – far more so than in most years past. It is clear that the effects of climate change are hitting our area with increased rainfall levels in recent years.

A lot of water pours off the Cathkin Braes after heaving rain and the road drainage system struggles to cope. I am glad there are plans being prepared to slow down the water flow off the Cathkin Braes but it is likely to require government funding to carry out. This work is feeding into the Local Flood Risk Management Plan being developed as part of a bid for government funding.

But there are also local situations where drains cannot cope – at Croftfoot Road at Spittal, Blairbeth Road, Burnside Road and East Kilbride Road amongst others. Some of these high risk gullies are clearer 4 times a year and monitored by the Roads department on top of that.

There are many causes – climate change causing heavier rainfall, more house building – which often means that water has nowhere to soak away, gullies and drains blocked by leaves or other debris, Victorian drains which are no longer adequate for the job. There are also a lot of burns, sometimes piped underground, running through most parts of Rutherglen.

My own view is that this is going to be an increasing problem in years to come and we must make sure that all possible precautions are taken by the Council, the Scottish Government and Scottish Water. Excess water can cause huge damage to roads and infrastructure as well as to private property.”