Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf MSP, demanding urgent action to support NHS Lanarkshire after the health board re-entered Code Black.
Scotland’s NHS follows a traffic light system indicating its levels of risk – green when health services are functioning, amber when functioning following intervention and red when significant intervention is required. A Code Black is called when services are experiencing ‘immediate and tangible impact’.
NHS Lanarkshire declared a Code Black situation in October 2021 and was only stood down to red on May 4. It was placed back into the highest level on July 27.
After Ms Lennon raised the matter with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Yousaf convened a meeting of Lanarkshire MSPs, MPs and health chiefs in January to discuss the challenges facing NHS Lanarkshire and the importance of reducing the risk to services.
Monica’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary (below) requests information on what support will be available to the health board, calls on Mr Yousaf to arrange a briefing between NHS Lanarkshire senior management team and Lanarkshire MPs and MSPs, and invites Mr Yousaf to visit the health board area to meet with patients and staff.
Scottish Labour and Cooperative representative, Monica Lennon MSP, said: “Yo-yoing in and out of Code Black cannot be tolerated as the ‘new normal’ for residents and exhausted healthcare workers in Lanarkshire.
“The fact that NHS Lanarkshire has returned to the highest level of risk less than three months after de-escalation from this level should be a matter of serious concern to the Cabinet Secretary.
“The health board remains under major pressure with bed shortages and staff shortages making it extremely difficult for patients and the workforce.
“The three hospitals in Lanarkshire are at maximum capacity. This is completely unsustainable and cannot be allowed to continue – even operating at Code Red for a prolonged period is serious.
“The Cabinet Secretary must publish a proper action plan as a matter of urgency and pave the way for NHS Lanarkshire to permanently exit Code Black.”