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by Louise Wilson
13 June 2024
Hundreds of elderly patients wait more than half a day in hospital, Douglas Ross says

Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar raised NHS issues at FMQs on Thursday | Alamy

Hundreds of elderly patients wait more than half a day in hospital, Douglas Ross says

Hundreds of elderly people aged over 100 years old have been forced to wait more than 12 hours for emergency treatment in Scottish hospitals, Douglas Ross revealed at First Minister’s Questions.

The Scottish Tory leader said the statistics proved elderly people were “routinely” facing long waits, creating considerable concerns for their safety.

The first minister said he accepted that “not everybody is getting the treatment they require as quick as they should”.

But John Swinney blamed “congestion” in hospitals on delayed discharge – when a patient is medically ready to leave but unable to get the care they require in the community – and added that his government was working with local authority partners to tackle the problem.

Ross highlighted that the SNP had pledged to get rid of delayed discharge seven years ago, and accused the SNP of not prioritising the NHS due to an obsession with Scottish independence.

He added: “The SNP manifesto should be focused on improving our NHS so people can get faster GP appointments and be seen quicker at A&E departments.”

Swinney hit back that his government was prioritising the health service, but insisted it was constrained by UK government spending decisions.

He said: “Scotland would be in a stronger position if it had the full powers of independence.”

Labour’s Anas Sarwar also raised the health service, pointing to an 86 per cent increase in people accessing private care for operations like hip and knee replacements.

“People are forced to pay because they cannot get treatment on time,” he added.

Swinney said he “regrets” that so many people have had to turn to private healthcare but insisted statistics in Scotland compared favourably to elsewhere in Great Britain.

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