23.09.2022
‘Do your job’: Sturgeon savaged over A&E chaos after one Scot endured 84-hour wait

Speaking at Holyrood, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross confronted First Minister Ms Sturgeon with statistics provided to his party through freedom of information legislation, which showed one patient at University Hospital Crosshouse in Ayrshire waited 84 hours and 10 minutes for treatment in January of this year.

The wait is 21 times longer than the four-hour target set by the Scottish Government for 95 percent of patients to be seen.

Mr Ross, during First Minister’s Questions today, said: “That’s three-and-a-half days. The equivalent of turning up for emergency treatment right now, and not being seen until next week, in the early hours of Monday morning.

“First Minister, is that really what anyone in Scotland should go through in 2022?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “No, and that is clearly an unacceptable situation, but also an exceptional situation, and I am certainly more than willing to look into the particular circumstances around that.”

The request from the Tories only covered NHS Ayrshire and Arran and NHS Borders, but included a number of other extremely long waits endured by patients.

The longest wait every month in Ayrshire and Arran has consistently been above 50 hours since October last year, with one person waiting 79 hours and 35 minutes at Crosshouse.

While the longest wait in the Borders in the past year was 64 hours – the equivalent of more than two and half days – in July.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said almost 750,000 people were currently on NHS waiting lists in Scotland, while more than 38,000 people had waited longer than 12 hours since the NHS recovery plan was published last year.

He said: “Frankly, people are sick of the same old excuses and this SNP Government always looking for someone else or something else to blame.

“Across Scotland people are getting the same inadequate answer from this Government: Wait.

“After 15 years in power, after 15 years of running our NHS, how long will the people of Scotland have to wait for you and your Health Secretary to do your job?”

In response, the First Minister said: “We will continue to do our jobs and, ultimately, as always it has been, it is for the people of Scotland to decide whether they want us to continue to do our jobs.

“A two-year pandemic for Scotland, for every country, has presented real and very significant challenges and every day we seek to address these challenges and support those on the front line who are doing that.”

The First Minister insisted the Scottish Government will continue to take action “with one hand tied behind our back” to tackle poverty.

She explained: “While I take full responsibility for performance across all of these things in Scotland, I come back to the reality in Scotland in terms of the National Health Service that whatever the challenges we face, thanks to the dedication of those working in our National Health Service, it is performing better than its counterpart in England where the Conservatives are in power and better than its counterpart in Wales, where Labour are currently in Government.

“We’ll continue to address these challenges, we’ll continue to take the steps necessary to do so and we’ll continue to ask the Scottish people to put their trust in us to do exactly that.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout 2021/22 we have experienced very high pressure across all our health and care services.

“At times, we experienced a high demand for our unscheduled care services and our staff worked hard to assess and treat patients as quickly as possible. Each patient attending our Emergency Departments (EDs) is triaged on arrival and clinical teams prioritise our patients based on clinical need.

“We are aware that, unfortunately, sometimes patients have waited significantly longer than we would wish and we unreservedly apologise for that.”

Dr McGuffie added: “Our clinical teams continuously review and manage risk and assess for harm associated with prolonged waits. The patients who are delayed within the system have been assessed and have processes for review that mitigate the risk of these delays.

“Wherever possible, additional staff are deployed to support these patients and our staff. This is not the care we aim to provide and our daily focus on discharges supports the flow of patients from our emergency departments.

“I would like to thank patients for their help and understanding as we continue to work under extremely difficult circumstances. If we all work together we can ensure that our Emergency Departments are there to look after those who need them most.”

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28.09.2022
‘We’ll just change the rules!’ Rebel Tory MPs double down amid revolt against Liz Truss
Tom Newton Dunn has discussed the backlash from Tory MPs against the leadership of Liz Truss after the pound collapsed…
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28.09.2022
Brexiteer claims Remainers ‘to blame’ for run on the pound: ‘Never felt the kind of hate’
A Brexiteer has claimed Remainers are to blame for the recent run on the pound. The currency fell to a…
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  • 3 часа, 57 минут назад 28.09.2022Politics
    ‘We’ll just change the rules!’ Rebel Tory MPs double down amid revolt against Liz Truss

    Tom Newton Dunn has discussed the backlash from Tory MPs against the leadership of Liz Truss after the pound collapsed sparking panic in the Conservative party. It comes after Tory backbencher Sir Graham Brady confirmed that Liz Truss can’t be challenged during her first year as Tory Party leader.

    Mr Newton Dunn told TalkTV: “Well the backlash from nervous Tory MPs against their new Prime Minister and Chancellor continues today.

    “One prominent Rishi Sunak supporter the Commons Transport Committee chair Hugh Merriman accused Liz Truss of ‘losing our voters with policies we warned against.’

    “And there are also reports of some Tory MPs even submitting letters of no confidence against Ms Truss to trigger yeah, you’ve got it yet another Tory leadership contest, but she can rest easy on that, at least for the moment.

    “For there is a little known Tory Party rule confirmed to this programme by the rules guardian of the 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady on your screens now that there can be no leadership challenge to any new leader during their first 12 months.”

    He added: “Small graces, while I do have to tell you that I tweeted that a few minutes ago, and it was messaged to me by another Tory MP ‘we’ll just change the rules.’”

    Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said he is “confident” his tax-cutting strategy to drive economic growth will work despite the turmoil on the financial markets.

    In talks with City investors in the wake of Friday’s mini-budget, Mr Kwarteng insisted he was committed to “fiscal discipline” and that he had a “credible plan” to start to bring down the UK debt.

    He also emphasised the importance of the “supply side” reforms ministers will be setting out in the coming weeks, including his “Big Bang 2.0” reforms of the financial market regulations, in supporting growth.

    “We are confident in our long-term strategy to drive economic growth through tax cuts and supply side reform. Supply side reforms are critical – increasing capacity brings down prices,” he said, according to a Treasury readout of the meeting.

    “Cabinet ministers will set out more supply side measures over the coming weeks to make meaningful change. Right across government, departments have to be focused on this.

    “As I said on Friday, every department will be a growth department.

    “We are committed to fiscal discipline, and won’t re-open the spending review. We have a medium-term fiscal plan coming on November 23, alongside an OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecast. That will be a credible plan to get debt to GDP falling.

    “We have responded in the immediate term with an expansionary fiscal stance on energy because we had to. With two exogenous shocks – Covid-19 and Ukraine – we had to intervene. Our 70-year-high tax burden was also unsustainable.

    “I’m confident that with our growth plan and the upcoming medium term fiscal plan – with close cooperation with the Bank – our approach will work.”

    His comments came after the pound plunged to a record low on Monday in the wake of his Commons statement last week setting out his plan for £45 billion of tax cuts.

    In an attempt to calm the markets, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey issued a statement insisting they would raise interest rates by “as much as as is needed” to shore up the pound and keep the lid on inflation.

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  • 3 часа, 57 минут назад 28.09.2022Politics
    Brexiteer claims Remainers ‘to blame’ for run on the pound: ‘Never felt the kind of hate’

    A Brexiteer has claimed Remainers are to blame for the recent run on the pound. The currency fell to a record low against the dollar following the announcement of the biggest tax cuts in half a century.

    New Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said his statement provided the “biggest package in generations”.

    He announced a £45billion package to help with the cost of living crisis.

    After this, sterling fell close to $1.03 on Monday, before rising to $1.08.

    Since this time, a blame game has ensued as to why the record low was hit.

    Brexiteer Crispin Odey has insisted the run was caused by Remainers in the City of London who “hate” the Government.

    He told the Telegraph: “I never felt the kind of hate that Friday stirred up for a long time.

    “Amongst lots of friends of mine who are Remainers, they just decided that they hate this Government.

    “Obviously Kwasi they hate now as well, and they think Liz Truss is useless.

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    “They can’t stand poor Jacob Rees-Mogg.”

    The businessman has been criticised over his fund’s decision to bet against sterling.

    But he described the accusations levelled against him as “rubbish”.

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    Mr Odey highlighted that his positions against UK assets were in place for months – long before Mr Kwarteng’s latest statement.

    He said: “My love is grouse shooting. And we are in the middle of [the season] right now.

    “The truth is that I didn’t do anything on Friday. I shot.

    “I haven’t put a trade on for the last two months. I didn’t need to.

    “This was easy to see from miles away and didn’t depend on Kwasi coming into Government or anything else.”

    Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee described his comments as “enjoyable absurdity from grouse-shouting, pound-shorting, hedge funder – blaming Remainers!”.

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  • 5 часов, 57 минут назад 28.09.2022Politics
    Economist behind Trussonomics says plan avoids ‘doom loop’ amid dollar rate ‘obsession’

    Liz Truss’s new plan for the economy aims to avoid a “doom loop of weak growth and rising debt” by making targeted borrowing in the short-term when it is in the long-term economic benefit, a key ecoomist who devised it has said. Julian Jessop, one of three financial brains behind so-called Trussonomics, said the focus on economic growth by the new Government would help bring the debt-to-GDP ratio back down.

    Last week, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng revealed the Government’s intention to axe the top 45p rate of tax, and cut the lowest rate from 20p to 19p. He also shelved a rise in National Insurance and scrapped the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

    It was hailed by some commentators as a return to conservativism, but the sweeping changes – which came without an accompanying economic forecast – made the markets jittery and saw the pound slump to record lows against the dollar on Monday.

    Ms Truss’s Government was also criticised for the package of economic measures which relied on more borrowing after the pandemic.

    But in an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Jessop – who was “informally advising” the Truss team in the run-up to her election as PM – said part of the Trussonomics school of thought was that short-term, targeted borrowing could benefit the economy in the long-term.

    He said: “For too long, we’ve been obsessed with borrowing from year to year, rather than what really matters, which is sustainable public finances for the longer-term.

    “We’re talking here about getting debt down as a share of national income over time. And occasionally, that may mean you have to borrow a lot more in the short-term, to secure strong economic recovery.”

    The economics fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs added: “If we weren’t willing to spend, say, £60billion over the next six months, the outcome would be a deep recession, which would significantly scar the economy – and we’d probably end up spending more anyway because of the need to protect people during a recession and the loss of tax revenue.”

    He believes it is the focus on the short-term financial situation and weak growth that were contributing to the problem.

    Mr Jessop said bringing the debt-to-GDP ratio was not only solvable by lowering the national debt, but also by stimulating growth – an aim which is apparently all four cornerstones of Trussonomics.

    The former Treasury and HSBC adviser explained: “It’s not so much the level of debt that matters; it’s how the debt compares to the size of the economy.

    “So, if you can grow the economy, then you reduce the burden of debt relative to national income. And if part of your strategy for doing that is to borrow a bit more in the short-term, then that is a sensible thing to do.”

    At present, the debt-to-GDP target is set over a rolling three-year period, but Mr Jessop said it should be as long as five years, or over an economic cycle.

    He added: “If you’re trying to get it down in the short-term, then it’s really no different from having an annual borrowing target or something like that. It’s just too short-term. You need a medium to longer-term perspective on the public finances.”

    Mr Jessop continued: “We’re a sovereign nation with our own independent, free-floating currency, [and a] very high credit rating.

    “It’s important we avoid a sort of doom loop of weak growth and rising debt. But you don’t do that by increasing taxes – as Rishi Sunak was planning to do – during a recession.”

    Sterling hit a record low against the dollar of $1.03 on Monday, before settling for most of Tuesday at around $1.08. The Bank of England today signalled a significant interest rate rise to come, but not until the next scheduled announcement in November.

    Mr Jessop said the pound “hasn’t fallen anywhere near as much against a basket of currencies, as it has against the dollar.

    “So even if you’re worried about currencies, it doesn’t make any sense to be obsessed about one particular cross rate – pound against the dollar – you need to think more than that.”

    Mr Jessop said that “the Bank of England is not going to be panicked into raising rates simply on the basis of some extra volatility in the currency markets”.

    He added: “Some currency speculators were hoping for a big rate increase. But we don’t set policy to please currency speculators. If they had raised rates, then I think that could have actually backfired, because it would have been seen as a panicky response and damage the economy.

    “I’m certainly not interested in intraday movements in currency markets. […] No way to run policy is on the back of whether [the] sterling-dollar exchange rate is 1.08 or 1.06 – that’s just bonkers.”

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  • 7 часов, 57 минут назад 27.09.2022Politics
    Farage says Liz Truss is ‘betraying Brexit’ with immigration plans that suit ‘big money’

    Nigel Farage has criticised Liz Truss’s plan to boost the economy by allowing more skilled workers into the country, claiming it was a “complete betrayal of what Brexit voters wanted”. The former Brexit campaigner now a TV presenter said earlier that Liz Truss was “doing the bidding of the big money” by providing “cheap labour” from abroad.

    The Prime Minister has insisted she is “unapologetic” in “focusing relentlessly on economic growth”.

    But she and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have faced a raft of criticism from all sides since the announcement of a new set of economic measures last week, which evoked a sharp, pessimistic reaction from the markets.

    During his speech to the House of Commons, Mr Kwarteng hinted at further reform packages to come, including on the planning system, childcare and immigration.

    In the coming weeks, Ms Truss is expected to expand the Government’s occupation list in order to help businesses fill vacancies by making it easier to recruit overseas workers.

    Labour shortages remain an issue across a number of key sectors, including health and social care, and is said to be the main current concern of employers.

    Businesses have been frustrated the visa system for skilled work has not been responsive enough to shortages they have experienced.

    Downing Street has not denied the plans to reform the visa system, and a spokesperson said the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, would provide further detail.

    A recent Government report warned such shortages were badly affecting the food and farming sector, often forcing farmers to cull healthy pigs and leave fruit rotting in the fields.

    A Number 10 source said: “We need to put measures in place so that we have the right skills that the economy, including the rural economy, needs to stimulate growth.

    “That will involve increasing numbers in some areas and decreasing in others. As the Prime Minister has made clear, we also want to see people who are economically inactive get back into work.”

    While any relaxation of immigration rules may resolve the short-term labour shortages, such a move is likely to anger Brexit voters, who saw leaving the EU as an opportunity to grow the domestic labour market instead of relying on foreign workers.

    In a video posted on Twitter this morning, Mr Farage said: “I said I would give Liz Truss every chance as Prime Minister; indeed, I have.

    “Her economic package with Kwasi Kwarteng, ok, the markets may not like it, but at least it’s something conservative for the first time in decades.”

    He claimed that wealthy and influential men had chosen Ms Truss to be the next PM as they believed “she’d be very easy to manipulate”.

    Mr Farage argued that the expected immigration plan “tells you she’s doing the bidding of the big money, because what they want is cheap labour”.

    He added: “Don’t worry about the Brexit promises. Don’t worry about the fact that millions won’t vote for you at the next election. She’s done her bit by the big money.

    “I see this as a complete betrayal of what Brexit voters wanted.”

    But Ms Truss has not shied away from the focus on getting the economy growing again – even if that means implementing unpopular policies.

    According to the Financial Times, the review of immigration rules may also endorse loosening the need for foreign workers to speak English in some sectors.

    Asked about the idea that immigration rules might be relaxed, Mr Kwarteng told the BBC on Sunday: “It’s not about relaxing rules.

    “The whole point about the Brexit debate if we want to go down there was we need to control immigration in a way that works for the UK.”

    He added: “The Home Secretary will make a statement in the next few weeks. But we have to grow this economy.”

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  • 7 часов, 57 минут назад 27.09.2022Politics
    John McDonnell savages Starmer for not backing strikes… but makes embarrassing blunder

    John McDonnell has criticised Sir Keir Starmer for not supporting striking workers, accusing him of “completely misreading the public mood”, but he made an embarrassing blunder. Mr McDonnell claimed that the public supports people who are taking strike action, adding that Sir Keir is “undermining support” for the party by not standing with workers. But a YouGov survey published in the midst of the rail strikes in July showed that more people oppose the rail strikes than support them.

    This comes as the country has been rocked by strike action throughout the summer during a mounting cost of living crisis.

    The poll, which surveyed 2,516 adults on June 21, 2022, showed that less than four in 10 adults in the country (37 percent) were supportive of the rail transport workers’ walk-outs.

    A higher proportion (45 percent) opposed them.

    Speaking at an event on the fringes of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Mr McDonnell told delegates he thought Sir Keir should have said: “We are the Labour Party, we support workers in struggle and we do everything we can to support them. If it comes to a strike, yes we’d go on picket lines.”

    He said that he “can see” why Sir Keir may have thought it best to remain ambivalent about the party’s approach towards striking workers, but said that support for the strikes has “grown”, accusing the party of having “completely misread the public mood”.

    The former shadow Chancellor continued: “You have to think, why are people going on strike?

    “The wages people are being offered, they’ve got no other option – you’ve got to understand that.

    “But it isn’t just one strike, we could have over one million workers on strike; it just goes on and on.

    “You need to be on the side of these people now in desperation they have to take industrial action.”

    He added: “The public is supporting people now.

    “When we go into the next election, my constituents will say to the party: ‘Where were you when we needed you?’

    “We’re undermining that support.”

    Sir Keir has fallen short of standing with the striking workers, initially banning ministers from joining workers on the picket lines.

    However, the policy appears to have been loosened after several ministers ignored the advice.

    Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham has not attended the party conference this year, taking place in Liverpool this week, as a result of Labour’s failure to fully support striking workers.

    She called for the party to correct the impression that it is “wrong” to be on the picket line.

    Ms Graham warned that it is “a miscalculation by anybody, whether it is Keir Starmer or Liz Truss, quite frankly, in assuming that unions are a hated beast”.

    Speaking to conference delegates, Mr McDonnell also warned Sir Keir Starmer that the party is becoming “irrelevant”.

    He said there is a “huge” movement growing outside of the Labour Party but implied that the party is not doing enough to respond.

    Mr McDonnell said: “What I’m worried about in terms of this conference, is we have a huge build of a movement outside of this party.

    “What we seem to be doing is constructing an organisational form that is almost irrelevant to that movement.”

    Further strikes are set to rock the country throughout autumn, with rail, mail and emergency services workers among those threatening to take industrial action.

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  • 7 часов, 57 минут назад 27.09.2022Politics
    ‘More ferry rides?’ Brexiteer blasts Labour’s plans to scrap Rwanda migrants policy

    A Brexiteer has criticised Labour’s plans to scrap the Government’s ‘Rwanda Plan’. Speaking at the party’s annual conference, a Labour frontbencher insisted its proposal would work out both cheaper and more effective than that of the Conservative Party.

    The Government earlier this year announced its plan to send migrants who arrive in the UK illegally to Rwanda to claim asylum there.

    It hoped this would dissuade migrants from attempting the dangerous Channel crossing in the first place.

    But ministers were criticised by politicians and commentators on the left, while some on the right insisted the plan did not go far enough, with far too few migrants set to be sent away from the country.

    Today has seen Labour’s turn to receive criticism for its own border policy.

    The party’s conference was told that a Labour government would scrap the Rwanda plan and use the money saved to pay for a new cross-border police unit.

    Brexiteer and GB News presenter Darren Grimes mocked the policy, suggesting it would make the problem of illegal crossings worse still.

    He wrote in a post on Twitter: “So Labour’s plan for the Channel migrants is to gift them even more ferry rides across?”

    Reports suggest, however, the Tory party under Liz Truss is also now considering “loosening immigration rules” in order to “boost the UK economy”.

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    The role of the French in the ongoing Channel migrant crisis has featured in today’s discussion over resolving illegal crossings.

    Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year said “I want to work with France to fix it” but stressed that Paris “could do more”.

    He added that “we are seeing perhaps not enough resources put into it by our French friends”.

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    Labour has insisted it would do more with Britain’s neighbours across the Channel to lower the number of illegal crossings.

    Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper today told party members: “Unlike the Tories, we will work with France to prevent dangerous small boats crossing the Channel and putting lives at risk, with a new cross-border police unit to crack down on the criminal gangs who make millions from trading in people.”

    She added that this would be “paid for by cancelling the deeply damaging, extortionately expensive, unworkable and unethical Rwanda plan”.

    The party also signalled, however, that it would emulate some Conservative policy regarding immigration.

    Leader Sir Keir Starmer told the conference that a Labour government would “control immigration using a points-based system”.

    This style of admission was popularised during the Brexit referendum debate and was later put forward in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto.

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Politics 'Do your job': Sturgeon savaged over A&E chaos after one Scot endured 84-hour wait