National care service warning over £70m budget cuts and lack of detail



A CHARITY has warned that a lack of details around the National Care service proposals is a “nuisance” – meaning faith is needed in SNP ministers to scramble towards the end of the legislative process.

MSPs heard that £70m budget cuts could also have an impact on the plans, while ministers were criticised for failing to draw up details about how care boards would operate.

Under the Scottish Government proposals, adult social care will be centralised, with ministers responsible.

Health Secretary Humza Yosuaf has described the project as “one of the most ambitious reforms of public services since the creation of the National Health Service”.

Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications at Age Scotland, told Holyrood’s Social Justice Committee that “there’s a lot to be welcome” in the principles of the National Care Service legislation.

But he warned “there’s not a lot to really dig into”, due to the vagueness of the plans, leaving the public “relying on the Scottish Government to do it right at the end”.

He added: “The lack of further details is a nuisance in terms of trying to work out where there could be changes.”

Mr Stachura stressed that the social care system in Scotland does need improved.

He said: “Social care fundamentally needs reformed in Scotland. I don’t think, for a long time, it’s been working as well as possible for people that require it and for those in the future.

“For the first time we will actually see the government being more accountable, at last, the public on delivery of social care, which has been missing.

“I think that the impact on Covid-19 and the withdrawal of packages across the country, no-one was responsible for that.”

Professor Pauline Nolan, head of leadership and civic participation at Inclusion Scotland, warned about the impact of budget cuts on delivering the care service.

She told MSPs that “we are in a time of cuts again”.

Professor Nolan added: “This impacts everything. I fear that it’s going to impact the delivery of this service.”

As part of the £615m of cuts announced by the Deputy First Minister last week, £70m of savings has been earmarks from social care including the establishment of the national care service.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the cuts “included rephasing some social care spending” but added that “despite this, we continue to progress our work to deliver a national care service”.

Concerns have also been raised about proposed care boards, which the Scottish Government intends to ensure decisions are made locally.

Paul Traynor, head of external affairs for Carers Trust Scotland, said: “The lack of detail in relation to care boards and their relationship with the IJBs is really interesting.

“There is not any real detail in the bill of what that means. Does one replace the other?”

Cara Stevenson of GMB Scotland’s women’s campaign unit said: “Our position is social care is in crisis now and there’s no reason why changes can’t start happening now.

“Never mind co-design or other discussions, we know what the issues are in social care.

“We can’t recruit staff, we can’t retain them – that’s a big issue for service users and people who rely on that service, that’s something that we need to be doing at this second.”

Discussing the desire of social care staff to be involved in the co-design process, Ms Stevenson said the Bill in its current form asks staff to “take a leap of faith” on how the service would look.

She said: “The Bill itself, it does not achieve the aim to improve the quality and consistency of social work and social care services in Scotland – it’s not prescriptive enough as yet.

“What we’re seeing is actually trying to get the workforce involved in this is quite difficult because there’s not enough in the Bill for them to want to be involved in it.”

Ms Stevenson said “you can’t imagine” what staff went through during the pandemic, adding: “To now be turning around with something that’s quite non-prescriptive and subject to co-design and ask the workforce to take a leap of faith on this, I think it’s really, really difficult to get people involved in it and get people to support it.”





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Catfish: How a tragic double death has put ethics in the spotlight


In September 2021 in Northern Italy a young man was found dead by suicide. A little over a year later, only a few kilometres away, a 64-year-old man was found beside a bottle of pills by his elderly mother.

His death completed a tragic circle that has raised questions over catfishing, media ethics and the role of social media in our lives.

The result is two heartbroken families, but the way this point was reached raises wider issues for society well beyond the humble locale that bore witness.

The idea of ‘catfishing’ is one that has come to the public attention with the boom of the internet. It involves someone creating a fake persona on social media, usually to ensnare a specific victim.

The term was coined in the 2020 documentary Catfish which followed the story of Nev Schulman, who had begun a relationship with what he thought was a 19-year-old girl. A television series of the same name saw Schulman help members of the public determine if their relationships involved ‘catfishing’, with he and the victim confronting the perpetrators at the end of the show.

The practice has even been used by so-called ‘paedophile hunters’, who pose as underage children to ensnare suspected sex offenders – something which has been praised as both enabling legitimate complaints to be raised and criticised for allowing vigilantes to levy unproven accusations.


Read more: Men whose abuse leads to miscarriage escaping prosecution in Scotland


It’s a debate which has exploded into the news agenda in Italy after a catfishing incident ended in a double suicide and questions over the ethics of media reporting.

At the centre of the storm is a programme broadcast by Le Iene about the tragic tale of a young man.

On September 23, 2021, a 24-year-old from Forlì in the Emilia-Romagna region named only as Daniele was found dead, with the verdict ruled as suicide. The young man was described as well-groomed, sporty and active and had recently started working with his father’s construction company.

Though their son was indubitably shy he’d never exhibited any signs of mental ill health, at least not that his parents could detect. Heartbroken and looking for answers they began to search for clues in Daniele’s social media messages and texts.

There they found over 8,000 messages on WhatsApp between their son and a beautiful 20-year-old named Irene Martini, as well as her sister Claudia and brother Braim.

The pair exchanged messages and declarations of love – always by text, never any phonecalls, picture messages or video chats – for more than a year before the 24-year-old, thanks to some photos he found on the internet, realised he was being catfished.

The beautiful young woman with whom Daniele had been conversing was entirely fictional, made up by 64-year-old Roberto Zaccaria from nearby Forlimpopoli.

In a suicide note the young man addressed his brother, urging him not to “make the same mistakes” he had, writing “I’ve never had a friend, never had a girlfriend. I’ve been alone all my life”.

His parents accused Zaccaria of subjecting their son to a form of “psychological torture”. Under article 494 of the Italian penal code “impersonating a person” for personal gain or to “cause damage” to another person is a crime, of which the 64-year-old was convicted and fined €825. It’s believed that prosecutors had opened an investigation into a possible charge of ‘death as a consequence of another crime’, though charges were not filed. Meanwhile, Mediaset show Le Iene produced a report.

Its name translating to ‘The Hyenas’, Le Iene has been described as a sort of Italian version of The Daily Show. It offers a comedic take on the events of the day, as well as a gonzo-style journalism that sees them confront story subjects with cameras and probing questions.

On November 1 they ran the story of Daniele, tracking down Zaccaria when he was pushing his elderly mother in her wheelchair. Correspondent Matteo Viviani confronted him over the younger man’s death, with the 64-year-old’s face blurred by the cameras. However, Le Iene received criticism that the man was easily identifiable in a town of just 13,000 people, particularly given his distinctive tattoos were on full display.

HeraldScotland: Viviani confronts the catfisherViviani confronts the catfisher (Image: Screenshot)

Viviani asked him repeatedly “are you Irene Martini?”, with Zaccari telling them repeatedly to “go away”. His mother was knocked against a wall. Eventually the programme got a single statement: “it was a joke, the lad had mental problems”.

According to his lawyers, the catfisher received threats, insults and exhortations to “burn in hell”, which had been reported to the local police. On Sunday November 6 he, too, took his own life, discovered in his home by his mother after ingesting a cocktail of pills.

A lawyer for Zaccaria’s family, Pier Paolo Benini, accused Le Iene of being irresponsible.

He told La Stampa: “Personally I think they could have reconstructed the the events without the ‘intrusion’ in the piece.”

The death of the 64-year-old has opened a discussion in the country about responsible reporting, while Zaccaria’s family have announced their intention to sue Mediaset for ‘incitement to suicide’.

On Tuesday Le Iene returned to the air and attempted to tackle the issue. Presenters Belén Rodriguez and Teo Mammuccari began: “We want to talk about something that happened on Sunday and that left us really shaken. It’s something very complex which a lot of you are discussing and we will not shy away from the debate.”

Viviani, the correspondent in the original package, described it as “a tragedy within a tragedy which not only does not leave us indifferent, but has deeply affected us all”. He went on to point out that the programme had covered catfishing on numerous occasions, “cases which fortunately did not have this tragic epilogue”. He went on to ask if the laws and tools needed to protect people from catfishing were in place, or robust enough.


Read more: Football, politics and murder – The murky world of Italy’s ultras


Le Iene concluded “continuing to deal with the phenomenon is important, because learning to recognise the problem is the first step to defending oneself against it”.

The reaction was mixed. National newspaper il Riformista called it “a lot of rhetoric from those who often manage to occupy multiple roles – judge, magistrate, and ‘journalist’ – within the same transmission”. They accused the Mediaset show of ‘pseudo-investigative’ journalism and looking to find a ‘monster’ to put in front of the cameras.

It’s not the first time Le Iene have found themselves in the crosshairs. In April 2010 the programme received a report from a young boy from the lower Bergamo area who accused a priest of having molested him. They sent a young actor, who pretended to be a minor and homosexual, to meet the priest where a hidden camera appeared to show him touching and trying to kiss the young man. The clergyman’s name was never revealed and his face was blurred, but he was identified by his church and sacked. In November of that year the priest took his own life.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any action taken against the programme for the report they produced on the tragic case of Daniele. What the whole case says about catfishing and internet culture is also difficult to ascertain.





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Brian Nunez Shares How To Achieve Better Physical Health



This article was brought to you by Digital Nod and is not necessarily representative of the views of the Herald

Physical inactivity is a slow killer that too many people willingly let into their lives. A study published in The Lancet showed that, of the global adult population, more than 31% can be considered physically inactive. Some places are more inactive than others, with Southeast Asians having a low level of inactivity at 17%, while 43% of people in the Americas are deemed physically inactive.

Escaping the status of a physically inactive person is one thing. Using physical activity as a way to improve health, both physical and mental, as well as self-image and physical performance, is something completely different. Neither can happen overnight, but results require extra effort. They require a system. Brian Nunez, a professional fitness coach and the CEO of the FNS Training Center, shares with us how he built one that delivers results.

Setting a Good Foundation

Health and fitness require a systematic approach, he says, because the human body is a system, and it’s exposed to a variety of influences that shape its state and performance level. Everything from daily habits to the company one keeps influences people’s ability to get and stay fit. Training is important, but it doesn’t account for everything. This is reflected in the way Brian Nunez developed his system.

“Much like a financial advisor oversees a person’s wealth portfolio, my team and I at FNS do the same for people when it comes to their health,” he says.

They’ve developed a program around what they call “five pillars of performance” — mindset, nutrition, training, recovery, and teamwork. Through their focused effort on all five of these areas, and the way they are connected, Brian and his FNS team help people achieve the results they desire.

“We break through the distractions of the day-to-day,” Brian Nunez explains. “We use simple, structured, and sustainable programs, led by coaches and inspired by our community, and that helps us put people on the road to seeing the results.”

Finding the Key Issue and Addressing It

Any system that aims to be effective has to address the key issue its users face. For people who go to the gym and work out — “everyday athletes,” as Brian Nunez likes to call them — the struggle revolves around accountability. People will skip parts of the program. They’ll drop out of gyms, resort to bad habits, and give up on achieving their health goals.

“We focus on accountability in our system because it’s the one area people need the most if they want to see results,” says Brian Nunez. “For our part, we make sure clients achieve their goals by daily follow-ups for their personalized programs. We are authentically dedicated to that extra bit of involvement in our clients’ fitness journey.”

Finally, it also takes time and patience to see people through to their goals. Brian says he’s seen all too many times people get quick results and then simply give up, which is why his approach is based on the sustainability of results. “We pride ourselves on sustainability,” he says, “and we achieve it by educating our clients on how to keep their results for a lifetime.”

This article was brought to you by Digital Nod and is not necessarily representative of the views of the Herald





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Calls for health secretary Humza Yousaf to be sacked



DOUGLAS Ross and Anas Sarwar have urged John Swinney to sack beleaguered Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

The resignation call comes after Scotland’s nurses voted to strike for the first time in history.

The minister has also been under pressure to deal with miserable performance times in Scotland’s A&Es.

Last week they fell to a new record low, with almost two in five patients waiting too long for treatment.

During First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the NHS was “on its knees.”

“The SNP insisted it would get Scotland’s NHS back on track, but this is what their recovery plan has delivered – record vacancies, the longest ever waiting times, patients struggling to see their GP, nurses voting to strike for the first time ever and the worst A&E waiting times statistics on record.

“Whoever the SNP try to blame, it’s obvious that the man responsible is sitting right there next to the Deputy First Minister,” he added.

“Humza Yousaf has failed and all he can do is spin that the NHS is in recovery when really it’s at breaking point.

“Just how much worse does it have to get for patients and staff in Scotland before he takes responsibility?

“Deputy First Minister, Scotland’s NHS deserves better than Humza Yousaf, when will this Health Secretary be sacked?”

Responding, Mr Swinney – who was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon at question time – described Mr Ross’s call a “laughable proposition.”

“Given the absolutely, totally chaotic turmoil of ministerial resignations and dismissals in the United Kingdom Government, what a laughable proposition to put to me this morning.

“I’ve been active in politics for many years, a member of Parliament for a quarter century, and you know when somebody’s run out of road when they start playing the man and not the issue,” he added.

He said the Scottish pay offer was the best in the UK, so too was A&E performance.

“What’s not helping is the folly of Brexit, because Brexit has reduced the amount of staff available because of the loss of free movement,” he added.

Mr Swinney also said the UK Government “is not recognising the public sector pressure exists because of inflation that they have fuelled by their stupid economic decisions and as a consequence, public budgets are under enormous pressure”.

Mr Sarwar told Mr Swinney “his head is frankly in the sand”.

He added: “This Health Secretary and this Government are clearly out of their depth.

“After 15 years in Government, 750,000 Scots on the NHS waiting list, the worst ever waits at A&E and now the Royal College of Nursing going on strike for the first time in their history.

“Does the Deputy First Minister accept that our NHS has not faced a crisis like this in its history, that it is the worst it has ever been, and it is all happening on the SNP’s watch?”

Mr Sarwar said problems had existed in the NHS “even before the pandemic and even before Brexit”.

He said: “Nurses have been warning for years that staff shortages risk patient safety.

“Nurses are saying that a lack of resources is putting patients at risk. Lives are being lost.”

Mr Swinney said staff in the NHS in Scotland had reached record levels under the SNP but said the government was limited by inflation and public spending pressures. 

He later attacked Sir Keir Starmer for comments made to BBC Scotland over the weekend, when the Labour leader said the UK was “recruiting too many people from overseas” into the NHS.

READ MORE: Sir Keir Starmer says UK ‘recruiting too many people from overseas’ into NHS

The Deputy First Minister said: “I listened to those comments with incredulity.

What is hampering us in the health service is the Brexit that was inflicted on us by the Conservatives, ending free movement of individuals which has lost members of staff from our national health Service. We need to reverse that.”

Responding, Mr Sarwar replied: “Let me address that final point, I have led a campaign in this parliament to address racial and religious prejudice, so no one should miscategorise my position or the position of my party so let me be clear, migrants play an invaluable part in our NHS and they always have done and they always would do.

“I would also say people that come and work in our NHS are not migrants, they’re equal Scots, just like the rest of us. But that should not stop us from having a credible workforce plan that means we train more doctors and nurses here.” 





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Several Scottish children hospitalised due to firework injuries



A Scottish health board has issued a firework warning after a number of children were hospitalised due to injuries related to the pyrotechnics. 

Senior consultants at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde urged families to consider the risk involved with the explosive devices. 

Several of the youngsters admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children required specialist treatment, including surgery. 

Consultant in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr Vincent Choudhery, said: “Firework safety is vitally important as several children have attended the Emergency Department at the Royal Hospital for Children with firework injuries over the last few days. 

READ MORE: CalMac Ferries scandal inquiry demands documents from Nicola Sturgeon

“We continue to work with partners at the Scottish Government, emergency services and members of the public to minimise further attendance for this type of incident. As the festive period approaches, it is important to understand the risk involved with fireworks and how to use them sensibly. 

“Although accidents happen, NHS Greater and Glasgow and Clyde are appealing to parents to ensure displays can be enjoyed in safe environment for the whole family.”

He warned that these injuries are coming at a time when A&E departments across the country are seeing “record levels” of attendance. 

Figures from Public Health Scotland show just 63.1 per cent of people attending A&E last week were seen within the official four-hour target, down from 65% the previous week.

This represents a new record low for Scotland’s emergency departments since the figures began in February 2015.

“This comes at a time when the RHC, like many other hospitals, are seeing record levels of emergency attendance across a range of medical and surgical specialties at the front door,” the consultant said. 

“I would like to thank all the members of staff at The Royal Hospital for Children who provided care and support following a very challenging few days.”

This Bonfire Night also saw “disappointing” attacks on emergency workers, including five assaults on firefighters.

On one of the busiest nights for the emergency force, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) received 1,025 calls over just eight hours. 

Meanwhile, Police Scotland confirmed 12 arrests were made over the night after it received 483 calls in connection to firework offences.

 





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Striking nurses are ‘standing up for their patients’



HUMZA Yousaf has urged the UK Government to provide him with more money to fund pay deals for NHS staff.

He said that even though health and pay negotiations were devolved, that as the “architects of the mismanagement of the economy that has caused a cost crisis,” they had a “moral obligation”. 

Yesterday, the Royal College of Nursing revealed that members in every health board in Scotland had voted to strike for the first time in their 106-year history.

The first walk-outs could happen in the run-up to Christmas and could go on until next May.

Nurses in most parts of the rest of UK have also voted to take industrial action. 

Hilary Nelson, an RCN board member who works in intensive care, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that the situation was “really difficult” for nurses.

“When nurses are coming to work in the morning and of an evening they already know that they are short-staffed. So to wake up every day knowing that you’re going in not to have enough people to do the job is quite a feat. 

“Nurses are tired, they’re exhausted. They’re giving up days off and annual leave to come in and support their teams.

“But not only that, they’re coming in to do that, because they cannot pay their bills at the end of the month, because their pay is not keeping up in line with inflation.”

Ms Nelson said the industrial action would be “disruptive” but that the main reason for the strike “is because we are standing up for our patients.” 

“People are already at risk and industrial action won’t create any additional risk because we will work very carefully with employers to make sure that we have the right amount of nurses in the right place at the right time. 

“But the point of taking the strike action is to ensure patient safety going forward is enhanced. 

“And as I say, no nurse would take this decision to take industrial action lightly. Many people have agonised over it. I spoke to people who said, ‘never in my life would I have thought I would have got to this point, but I have no other option’. 

“And if you do right by the nurses, you will do right by patients because we are their voice.” 

Colin Poolman, the Director of the RCN said there had been “years of underinvestment in nursing” by the Scottish Government.

“The current offer is a pay cut again, in fact, the offer was lower for some of the more experienced staff.

“So at the end of the day, I absolutely understand this is going to be difficult. Our members acknowledge that. And of course, we do have our ask, but we also are open to negotiations.

“But what we can’t have is another real terms pay cut for the nurses of Scotland.”

Last month, NHS staff in Scotland were offered a flat rate uplift in their salaries of £2,205 each – equivalent to an average pay rise of 7 per cent, or 11% for the lowest paid. 

Mr Yousaf said that to afford the £480m annual cost of the uplift the Scottish Government had to “reprofile” £400m of current health funding. 

He said: “Now that’s been through very, very difficult choices that no health secretary, frankly, would ever want to make. We’ve had to reprofile money away from social care, from mental health, from primary care.”

Mr Yousaf said he was “certainly not fatalistic about the fact that there’s an inevitability about strikes.”

“What we can do is look at the £480m envelope and say, well, is there another way that that can be distributed? That if the concern is coming, for example, experienced nurses, then is there something else we can do to redistribute that?

“The other plea I’m making is given that the UK Government are the architects of high inflation costs and this cost crisis, for me, I think they have a moral obligation, quite frankly, to put their hand in their pocket and provide more money to the Scottish Government – and the Welsh Government has made a similar plea too – in order for us to be able to afford these record high pay deals.”

Mr Yousaf said the Scottish Government’s budget was an “open book.”

“People can see line by line where that money has been spent, and how we already are facing significant challenge just in year to have to balance the books, hence why we’ve had to take those really difficult decisions around health and other portfolios too. 

“So if there are other places that people think we should be taking money from, as I say, our annual budget, is an open book, people can suggest where that money should come from.”

The minister said that while contingency plans were in place, nurses walking out would “be catastrophic at this time, more than any other time.” 

“I think it’s difficult for anybody to suggest that it wouldn’t have an impact. And that is, of course, the purpose of a strike, it’s to cause a level of disruption.” 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said Mr Yousaf needed to take responsibility for the strike: “Nursing union officials are warning that staff are exhausted and staffing levels are at dangerous levels. They are striking because they know this situation cannot continue.  

“If Humza Yousaf thinks our NHS is performing well; he is living in fantasy land. Since his NHS recovery plan was launched, virtually every measure of performance has got worse.

“Week after week, the SNP’s strategy is deflect, deflect, deflect. They spin the stats and compare a bad situation with an even worse situation to make the bad one look good. The Health Secretary’s comments are deafeningly cynical and, at their worst, deeply misleading.” 

News of the strike comes as pressure mounts on the beleaguered Health Secretary.

Last week performance times in Scotland’s A&Es fell to a new record low, with almost two in five patients waiting too long for treatment.

Figures from Public Health Scotland show just 63.1% of people attending A&E last week were seen within the official four-hour target, down from 65% the previous week.

It is the lowest figure since comparable records began in February 2015.

The previous record low was 63.6% of patients seen on time in the week to September 11.





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Striking nurses are ‘standing up for their patients’



HUMZA Yousaf has urged the UK Government to provide him with more money to fund pay deals for NHS staff.

He said that even though health and pay negotiations were devolved, that as the “architects of the mismanagement of the economy that has caused a cost crisis,” they had a “moral obligation”. 

Yesterday, the Royal College of Nursing revealed that members in every health board in Scotland had voted to strike for the first time in their 106-year history.

The first walk-outs could happen in the run-up to Christmas and could go on until next May.

Nurses in most parts of the rest of UK have also voted to take industrial action. 

Hilary Nelson, an RCN board member who works in intensive care, told the BBC that the situation was “really difficult” for nurses.

“When nurses are coming to work in the morning and of an evening they already know that they are short-staffed. So to wake up every day knowing that you’re going in not to have enough people to do the job is quite a feat. 

“Nurses are tired, they’re exhausted. They’re giving up days off and annual leave to come in and support their teams.

“But not only that, they’re coming in to do that, because they cannot pay their bills at the end of the month, because their pay is not keeping up in line with inflation.”

Ms Nelson said the industrial action would be “disruptive” but that the main reason for the strike “is because we are standing up for our patients.” 

“People are already at risk and industrial action won’t create any additional risk because we will work very carefully with employers to make sure that we have the right amount of nurses in the right place at the right time. 

“But the point of taking the strike action is to ensure patient safety going forward is enhanced. 

“And as I say, no nurse would take this decision to take industrial action lightly. Many people have agonised over it. I spoke to people who said, ‘never in my life would I have thought I would have got to this point, but I have no other option’. 

“And if you do right by the nurses, you will do right by patients because we are their voice.” 

Last month, NHS staff in Scotland were offered a flat rate uplift in their salaries of £2,205 each – equivalent to an average pay rise of 7 per cent, or 11% for the lowest paid. 

Mr Yousaf said that to afford the £480m annual cost of the uplift the Scottish Government had to “reprofile” £400m of current health funding. 

He said: “Now that’s been through very, very difficult choices that no health secretary, frankly, would ever want to make. We’ve had to reprofile money away from social care, from mental health, from primary care.”

Mr Yousaf said he was “certainly not fatalistic about the fact that there’s an inevitability about strikes.”

“What we can do is look at the £480m envelope and say, well, is there another way that that can be distributed? That if the concern is coming, for example, experienced nurses, then is there something else we can do to redistribute that?

“The other plea I’m making is given that the UK Government are the architects of high inflation costs and this cost crisis, for me, I think they have a moral obligation, quite frankly, to put their hand in their pocket and provide more money to the Scottish Government – and the Welsh Government has made a similar plea too – in order for us to be able to afford these record high pay deals.”

Mr Yousaf said the Scottish Government’s budget was an “open book.”

“People can see line by line where that money has been spent, and how we already are facing significant challenge just in year to have to balance the books, hence why we’ve had to take those really difficult decisions around health and other portfolios too. 

“So if there are other places that people think we should be taking money from, as I say, our annual budget, is an open book, people can suggest where that money should come from.”

The minister said that while contingency plans were in place, nurses walking out would “be catastrophic at this time, more than any other time.” 

“I think it’s difficult for anybody to suggest that it wouldn’t have an impact. And that is, of course, the purpose of a strike, it’s to cause a level of disruption.” 

News of the strike comes as pressure mounts on the beleaguered Health Secretary.

Last week performance times in Scotland’s A&Es fell to a new record low, with almost two in five patients waiting too long for treatment.

Figures from Public Health Scotland show just 63.1% of people attending A&E last week were seen within the official four-hour target, down from 65% the previous week.

It is the lowest figure since comparable records began in February 2015.

The previous record low was 63.6% of patients seen on time in the week to September 11.





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Glasgow hotels: Clayton Hotel Glasgow City opens at Custom House

A HISTORIC Grade-A-listed building which has stood on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow for more than 180 years has opened as a four-star hotel.

The 303-bedroom Clayton Hotel Glasgow City, on Clyde Street, has breathed new life into the sandstone Custom House building.

The refurbished listed building serves as the entrance to the hotel, with the reception, public area, ballroom and event spaces all located there.

Adjacent to the historic building and connected, in part by a glazed ceiling, the hotel also houses the Custom House Bar & Restaurant. Climbing to 16 storeys high, the hotel provides a “striking juxtaposition of old and new architecture”, operator and Clayton Hotels owner Dalata Hotel Group said.

A terrace on the seventh floor provides an entertainment space and panoramic views of the city.

Dalata Hotel Group said: “Located in a conservation area, this building has been a focal point for hundreds of years for people moving between the quayside and the city centre.”

Clayton Hotel Glasgow City general manager Hazel Galloway said: “We are so thrilled to bring the first Clayton Hotel to Scotland and we are looking forward to adding to Glasgow’s world-class offering as we prepare to welcome guests from around the globe.”