Doctor Objects To ‘Stunt’ On Climate Change While NHS In Crisis

  • Date: 05/03/15

A doctor accused the Health Minister of ineptitude yesterday for asking frontline NHS staff to help “save the planet” by switching off lights at a time when the NHS was in crisis.

The frontline medic said the health service was in chaos under the SNP and everyone was working hard to cope with issues including bed blocking, delays in A&E and winter flu.

He added that when he saw the message from Shona Robison he was astonished that instead of thanking staff for keeping going, it was urging them to back a charity campaign.

The Earth Hour event, organised by WWF, aims to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change by encouraging people to turn out lights for an hour later this month.

The doctor, who works in the Highlands and asked not to be named, said he might ask Ms Robison whether she wanted him to “switch off a vaccine fridge or a ventilator”.

He said staff were dealing with norovirus, bed closures and political targets “doing more harm than good”, adding: “I get a daily flood of emails from the centre to distract me from patient care.

“I thought this one was a satire, but it has really truly been cascaded through NHS Scotland today to the front line troops like me. It made me see red, it is beyond a joke.

“The SNP minister of health is wanting me to switch my electricity off for an hour for world solidarity.

“It is often asked ‘what planet are these people on?’, but this is beyond a joke, while they cause the lights to go out with economic illiteracy and anti-nuclear phobia. She must be on planet Zog.

“The whole system is falling apart. If we had received a letter saying, ‘Well done, you are coping with enormous pressures’, that would have made sense.”

He claimed it was “inept” of the Scottish Government to seek the goodwill of front line staff for a “political stunt”, and, referring to a famous quote about the First World War, said the message put him in mind of “lions led by donkeys”.

Earth Hour is described in the Scottish Government letter, which was addressed to chief executives of health bodies and forwarded to frontline staff, as a “much-anticipated annual event”.

Ms Robison said that Scotland joined hundreds of millions of people in 162 countries in participating last year.

She asked NHS staff to switch off all “non-essential lighting, as far as possible, across the core estate” from 8.30pm on March 28.

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