The Capital’s hospitals are among the busiest in Scotland and the pressure on staff as public spending cuts start to bite is only growing.
The accident and emergency department at the Royal Infirmary, for instance, treats almost 10,000 people every month, and more than 100,000 patients pass through NHS Lothian hospitals every year.
So as the number of nurses falls it is inevitable that difficult day-to-day choices have to be made about where their time is best spent and at certain high-pressure times some niceties might be overlooked.
That is the reality of today but it does not mean that patients have to accept sub-standard care.
Pain relief is an essential part of the care provided by the NHS – it is not a nicety that can be dispensed with when staff are under pressure.
Everyone at some time or another puts up with some pain and discomfort, especially when they are ill.
But it is easy to underestimate the toll which continual pain takes on the physical and mental well-being of people trying to recover from an accident or illness. It can make the road back to full fitness far longer and harder.
When almost one in six patients are spending all or most of their stay in hospital in pain and many are being sent home still suffering, then the problem needs to be taken seriously.
In the words of Professor Morag Prowse, one of the country’s leading experts on pain management, the situation is unacceptable.
Our hospitals must do more to ease the pain of patients in their care.
Source of pride
VisitScotland’s Mike Cantlay is right to urge us all to get out and enjoy August. After a washout summer many of our tourism businesses are well behind target and we need to ensure that the next month is a big one.
What the story throws into focus is how much we rely on the city’s festivals during this period. Imagine a washout summer in a city where the Fringe, the International Festival and the Book Festival did not exist?
Edinburgh will be packed for the next month and we should feel thankful for that. Yes, there is greater congestion on our pavements and roads but the whole event brings in massive income for the city. During a time of economic gloom it drives jobs and revenue for the Capital that benefit every citizen.
Edinburgh’s Festivals are the Olympics of the arts world – and we have them every year. Be proud.