Salmond and Sturgeon make apology to patients

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The First Minister and the Health Secretary have apologised to two pensioners who said they had been left without blankets during recent hospital treatment.

Mrs Helen Macbeth said she was “frozen” after staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley left her in a room with just a sheet and mat on the bed.  Mr Jack Barr said that he had to use a beach towel to keep warm during a recent stay in the same hospital.  

Mrs Macbeth said that she had been admitted to the hospital for three days in February.  She called a nurse during the night to request a blanket, but the nurse apologised saying that she had no blankets to give her.

Mr Barr was admitted to the hospital for treatment following a stroke.  He requested a blanket on admission but was never given one.  Mr Barr said he “could not wait” to get out of the hospital, adding: “It was a very, very bad experience. I have been in a few hospitals since 2000 with heart operations and a stroke, and that’s the worst experience I’ve ever had.”

The treatment received by the two pensioners was raised by Labour’s Johann Lamont at First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.  Mrs Macbeth and Mr Barr were present in Holyrood to hear Ms Lamont question the First Minister about their hospital stays.  Ms Lamont claimed that she had uncovered “at least seven recent cases of patients going without blankets at the Royal Alexandra Hospital”.

After FMQs Mrs Macbeth and Mr Barr met with First Minister Alex Salmond and Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.  The First Minister and the Health Secretary apologised to the pensioners in person.

A spokesman for Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS said: “Following the issue of linen availability at the RAH being raised at the Scottish Parliament, we want to apologise to any of our patients who feel that the linen, towelling or blanket provision was not adequate for them.”