Labour’s Jackie Baillie under fire over hospital blanket claims


By a Newsnet reporter

Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie has been accused of making claims against an NHS hospital for which there was no proof.

Speaking at the Labour conference yesterday, Ms Baillie claimed that in one Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospital patients had been forced to “share blankets” because of cuts.

However Ms Baillie’s claims were immediately called into question by a spokesman for the area’s Health Board who claimed they were untrue and that the claim had been proven false weeks ago.

A spokeswoman for Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board said: “This matter was raised with us a few weeks ago and we were able to provide proof that there was no truth in this claim.”

She added: “Extra blankets are available in all our hospitals, as and when patients need them.”

Jackie Baillie had claimed that a number of constituents had contacted her with concerns about the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley.

Speaking at her party’s conference, Ms Baillie said: “In one hospital, in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, patients are even having to share blankets because of the cuts.

“The truth is, the fault lies with the SNP because even in times of plenty, they have underfunded the NHS.”

A spokeperson for Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon accused the Labour MSP of misleading people and said;

“Jackie Baillie should be ashamed of herself for talking down Scotland’s health service in this way and misleading people – the health board provided proof weeks ago that there is no truth in this claim.”

This is the second time in two months that claims by the same Labour MSP have been called into question.

On January 3rd Ms Baillie faced calls to apologise after a press release, issued by her and attacking the SNP’s record on hospital infections, was exposed as being out of date and used data from a time when Labour were in office.

The press release issued by Ms Baillie claimed that official figures showed that Scotland was now the “superbug capital of Europe”.

Ms Baillie claimed that research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre showed that Scotland had the highest rate of bugs in Europe, hitting 9.5 per cent.

Speaking on BBC Scotland, Ms Baillie said: “Being the superbug capital of Europe is an accolade no country wants.

“These figures show that, despite recent progress, the SNP government still has a long way to go in the battle against healthcare-associated infections.”

However, it emerged that the data had been collated in 2005/6, at a time when Labour were in power at Holyrood.

Official statistics released in October last year showed that cases of MRSA and MSSA were in fact at their lowest level since records began.