A WORRIED politician has called on the Scottish Government to “get a grip of health services in East Renfrewshire” as a winter crisis takes its toll.

With waiting times at an all-time high and nurses set to strike over pay and conditions, West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby is urging First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to put the NHS at the top of her agenda.

He spoke out after Dr Lailah Peel, deputy chair of doctors’ union BMA Scotland, said patient safety was “at risk every day” in A&E departments.

Mr Bibby has also expressed concern that there are just 5.6 GPs for every 10,000 patients in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) – the third lowest rate in Scotland.

The Labour man said: “People across our community are living with the everyday reality of our NHS crisis – waiting longer and longer to be seen for treatment, appointments and procedures.

“Our health board ranks at the bottom of the league tables, so this crisis will be impacting on East Renfrewshire patients more than most.

“Our NHS staff do an amazing job but it is clear they are at the end of their tether and are being forced to strike because they are being denied fair pay. They deserve better.

“The First Minister and her Health Secretary have taken their eye off the ball and patient safety in our community has been compromised.”

Mr Yousaf said pandemic backlogs, inflation costs and the influence of Brexit on staff shortages have all contributed to make this winter “the most challenging the NHS has ever faced.”

He added: “Extraordinary rises in flu and increases in Covid and Strep A have heightened pressure on already stretched services.

“The Scottish Government resilience committee is monitoring the situation extremely closely and we remain in daily contact with health boards to ensure all possible actions are being taken to support services.”