Commenting upon the issues raised in relation to A&E waiting times at St John's Hospital, Professor Derek Bell, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland (the Scottish Academy), said:

“We are concerned to learn of the problems reported by NHS Lothian around A&E waiting times practices and staff pressure at St John’s Hospital.

“All Royal Colleges are committed to creating a healthy working environment. We recognise that doctors and other NHS staff should be supported in raising concerns about poor practice. Ensuring that they have the ability to speak up and are encouraged  so to do without risk or adverse impact on their careers is essential and will improve patient care.

“A transparent, supportive environment in which the open reporting of concerns is welcomed, used as a positive learning experience and acted upon is essential in the NHS to protect patients and staff. The fact that these apparently serious problems came to light as a result of a whistleblower is a step in the right direction.
“The Scottish Academy’s ‘Learning from Serious Failings (link is external)’ report recommended that the Scottish Government and Health Boards work together with the Scottish Academy, the General Medical Council and other stakeholders to foster a work culture in the NHS that prevents undermining behaviour in the workplace. As a result, we are encouraged by the fact that we have been asked to lead a multidisciplinary team to review the concerns.

"The Scottish Academy has the objective expertise and contextual knowledge required to support an independent review, working with NHS Lothian, to address to address the problems highlighted.”

Contact: Lisa Rooke 0131 247 3688