Leaders: NHS Lothian | Scottish Parliament

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TODAY’S story that NHS Lothian is planning ahead for the winter with a range of measures to avert a fresh beds crisis is heartening.

A total of £13 million has been earmarked for more staff, more beds and for support services.

Last winter, the NHS – across Scotland – was stretched to near breaking point. Scores of patients were left waiting for more than 12 hours in emergency departments because of a shortage of beds in wards as well as overstretched casualty teams.

A seasonal surge in norovirus cases didn’t help, although it’s clear that this only exacerbated an existing problem. Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was one of the worst performers in Scotland.

The NHS continues to manage thanks to its dedicated team of doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, receptionists and managers.

But it is clear that a wider examination of the number of beds and the resource available is required by the Scottish Government, to ensure every winter doesn’t descend into crisis mode.

After all, the growing number of older people is only likely to put greater pressure on the service year after year.

Signs aren’t good

THE Scottish Parliament building has always been quirky and controversial. From the “upturned boats” motif to the grand entrance designed for the Queen to process through, but which is now blocked by turnstiles, the £414 million Holyrood building has frequently been a cause for puzzlement.

Now bosses are at it again – by deciding that a £20,000 granite entrance sign should stay where it is, even when the door becomes the exit.

The front of the building is being reorganised because of the new £6.6 million security screening annexe. We are told an arrow will be added to the sign – but the new entrance is at the opposite end of the frontage.

Be prepared for confused visitors.