Comment: A sensitive subject at NHS Lothian

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JIM Crombie is a man with a plan. The new director of scheduled care at NHS Lothian has the tough task of ensuring that the health board meets its patient treatment time guarantees.

This is a sensitive subject within NHS Lothian, which failed dramatically in this key area under its previous chief executive. And there can be few more important measures of how a health board is performing that how quickly patients are seen and treated.

Mr Crombie’s multi-point plan should be welcomed.

Whether it works will depend not only on the hard work of all the staff within NHS Lothian but also on some external factors.

Edinburgh is a city that has a growing population which is putting greater strain on resources. At the same time, finding the best staff to fill vacancies in proving harder than ever, with competition across the UK (and further afield) for key personnel.

Big changes need to be made to meet demand. But if the health board is meeting those challenges head-on, should Holyrood not also increase its support for NHS Lothian at this difficult time?

Driven round bend

MOTORISTS will feel the pinch when parking charges increase as part of the city council’s budget for the next financial year.

Council cash is being squeezed and city leaders understandably want to do all they can to protect the children and families and health budgets.

Making people pay more for parking their cars in the city centre is also part of a deliberate policy to promote public transport and the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

But at a time when the council and tourism bodies are wanting to promote the city centre, pushing parking prices up to £3.20 per hour is going to put people off rather than bring them in. It’s good to encourage travel by bus –and tram when it arrives – but that is not always an option for everyone.