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Maintenance staff at the health board at the centre of the pigeon disease death scandal have been significantly reduced in recent years, it has been revealed.

Analysis of figures by the Scottish Conservatives has shown there was an 11.5 per cent cut in maintenance and estate workers in the two years to September 2018.

And the ISD Scotland data states, at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the numbers have reduced by 18.6 per cent since 2009.

The SNP government is under increasing pressure over the deaths of two patients at the Queen Elizabeth hospital on Glasgow’s southside, one of whom has now been revealed as a child.

Reports today show the scale of hygiene problems at the “super hospital”, which cost £850 million and was only officially opened in 2015.

The most recent statistics show there were 385 “maintenance and estate” staff in Glasgow’s NHS in 2018.

That compares to 435 in 2016 and 473 in 2009.

Across Scotland, there were 1651 such workers in 2018, compared to 1749 in 2016 and 1963 in 2009.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the reduction in workers was one of many questions the SNP government had to answer about the crisis.

Ministers were informed of the deaths on December 21 last year, yet health secretary Jeane Freeman only addressed Holyrood yesterday on the matter.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“Only now, after this scandal has been brought to light, is the SNP reviewing maintenance at Glasgow’s super hospital.

“For Jeane Freeman to say infection control at the hospital is adequate is absolutely astonishing, particularly in the wake of two deaths, one of whom was a child.

“That’s a complacent attitude, and one which simply won’t cut it with patients or staff.

“The big question is why ministers are failing to stop things like this happening in the first place, and why it takes a scandal like this for them to act.

“In Glasgow alone, dozens of maintenance staff have been cut in recent years in the lead up to this scandal.

“Across Scotland, patients will look at the nationwide reduction and wonder what other desperate consequences these SNP cuts could have.

“With that in mind, is it any wonder that – more than a month after a patient has died - we are still seeing rooms plastered in pigeon droppings?”




Notes to editors:


ISD Scotland figures show the following number of maintenance and estate staff at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in recent years:


September 2018 – 385

September 2017 – 396

September 2016 – 435

September 2015 – 432

September 2014 – 451

September 2013 – 452

September 2012 – 449

September 2011 – 453

September 2010 – 491

September 2009 – 474


Below are the equivalent figures for the whole of Scotland:


September 2018 – 1651

September 2017 – 1704

September 2016 – 1749

September 2015 – 1753

September 2014 – 1795

September 2013 – 1775

September 2012 – 1785

September 2011 – 1817

September 2010 – 1956

September 2009 – 1964




The number of people successfully lodging formal complaints against Scotland’s public services has increased, new figures have revealed.

According to a report which will be presented to MSPs tomorrow, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) upheld 251 more complaints in 2017/18 than the previous year.

It comes as a number of public sector bodies – including the NHS and local authorities – come under increasing financial pressure.

The Local Government and Communities Committee will hear evidence from the SPSO on the number of cases reported in recent years.

It states there were 4125 complaints made in 2017/18, of which 58.8 per cent were upheld (2425).

That compares to 4182 complaints the year before, of which 52 per cent were upheld (2175).

The Scottish Conservatives said the rise in successful grievances was an indication that public services were struggling to cope with demand, in the face of funding reductions from the SNP government.

Local government spokesman Alexander Stewart said this was more evidence that finance secretary Derek Mackay should offer a fair settlement to councils, allowing them more resources to reduce the trend in complaints in future years.

Members of the public can complain to the SPSO when they fail to resolve their issues directly with the organisation involved.

Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Alexander Stewart said:

“It’s extremely worrying to see an increase in successful complaints against our public services.

“It suggests bodies like local councils and health boards are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the demands placed on them.

“This is what happens when rising challenges like an ageing population are ignored by an SNP government, which over more than a decade has failed to plan adequately for the future.

“The nationalists’ workforce planning in health, social care and education has been a disaster, and for years now they have failed to provide local authorities with the adequate resources to confront all the difficulties they face.

“That’s why it’s imperative finance secretary Derek Mackay addresses the issues raised by councils in terms of funding, and gives them and our health boards a fighting chance of reducing these SPSO complaints in future.”



Notes to editors:


To see the evidence tabled by the SPSO visit:


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