DOCTOR Sandesh Gulhane decided to stand for the Tories at the Holyrood election after working on the Covid frontline.

PPE supply issues, mounting mental health problems and long Covid made the GP want to bring his “real world health expertise” to the Scottish Parliament.

Gulhane, 39, who works in surgeries across Glasgow and surrounding areas, is second on the Tory list for the Glasgow region.

He is also standing in Pollok against the SNP’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf.

Mental health is a “real issue” at the moment, he said. “I’ve had 10-year-olds coming to me and saying I feel really anxious.

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“I’ve got patients who have actively tried to kill themselves, fortunately they didn’t manage to complete it. They had no mental health problems before.”

He described mental health support waiting times as “extraordinary”.

Long Covid is “absolutely devastating” too, dad-of-two Gulhane, the club doctor at Queen’s Park FC, added.

He said a “fit and active” young mum got the virus and was “crying on the phone to me, begging me to do something because she couldn’t even talk without getting out of breath”.

On PPE, he said: “We had a delivery with the incorrect date on it.

“They had an expiry date, and they stuck another expiry date over the top.

“I just thought this is unacceptable, communication between government and us is absolutely appalling.

“I just think I could hopefully bring that expertise to try to solve basic problems.”

The doctor said the problems he has faced are “Scotland specific”.

“There’s long Covid clinics in England but I haven’t got one to send my patients to.”

There has been “no increase in funding” for mental health and more resources are needed, he added.

“This is not because of Covid. We were always lagging behind, we have always had issues with funding for our mental health services.

He described mental health support waiting times as “extraordinary”.

On dealing with the drugs death crisis in Glasgow, he said “coherent joined-up thinking” is needed and “rehab facilities, where we can get these patients somewhere safe”.

“There’s no point discharging them back into a hostel where they are surrounded by drug taking. We need to have that joined up thinking, that’s a Scottish problem.”

He questioned why there is only calls for a drug consumption room in Glasgow and said they are “pointless in isolation”.

“If you’re going to have a system, it should be round the country,” he claimed.

“Dundee has a problem; Edinburgh has a problem. It’s not unique to Glasgow.

“The solution is to get people off drugs. I know it’s difficult, because I’m dealing with these patients.

“Trying to focus on one thing is not helpful. What we need to do is have a far more open policy, where we can see from start to finish.”

Gulhane believes supermarket workers, teachers and binmen should also get the 4% pay rise offered to NHS workers by the SNP.

Brought up in London, after his parents moved there from India in the 70s, the Tory candidate has “gradually migrated” up north, living in Birmingham and Newcastle before arriving in Glasgow almost eight years ago.

He is also keen to tackle racism in the medical industry.

“I’m not calling doctors racist,” he said. “I’m not talking about any health care professional.

“But let me give you an example, if you are of colour, you are more likely to get referred to the General Medical Council.

“Why? We need to find out why and deal with it.

“We need to be solving those problems. That’s the type of thing I really want to get involved with.”

To people in Pollok, he asked: “If the SNP did not offer you independence, would you vote for them?

“If you take away independence as the only reason you’ll vote, and you look at, what has a government in power for 14 years done for you?

“If you care about more than independence, if you care about your NHS, if you care about your roads, if you care about your police, then the only place to vote is the Scottish Conservatives.”