Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: The Greens seem to have missed a trick over securing a replacement – Steve Cardownie

Quote of the week must surely go to Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Sight Scotland.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
The NHS Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion on Chalmers Street (Picture: Greg Macvean)
The NHS Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion on Chalmers Street (Picture: Greg Macvean)

Speaking about the economic reasons for building a new eye hospital in the city rather than disperse services throughout the Lothians, he said of the latter plan: “That’s an additional reason why this could be a short-sighted decision – it’s missing out on an economic opportunity as well as not being the right thing for patients.”

I suspect that this was not an “off the cuff” comment and his use of humour to drive home the point hits the mark.

Opposition to the Scottish government’s move is continuing to gain strength and shows no sign of abating with a number of former patients airing their concerns at a virtual public meeting and which were subsequently reported in yesterday’s paper.

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Also quoted was Green MSP Alison Johnstone who said of the decision: “It smacks of short-termism and a desperate need to save cash – and perhaps a misguided belief this was a facility which could be picked on and done away with quietly.”

This begs the question of why then did the Greens not dig their heels in and exact a heavier price for their support of the government’s budget?

They could have demanded that the government give a commitment to build a new facility in Edinburgh, rather than accepting the woolly statement that Lothian Health Board would be asked to conduct a review of their eye care facilities.

I am not, of course, party to internal parliamentary budget discussions – but it would appear that a trick has been missed.

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