SNP's NHS track record criticised amid sky rocketing waiting times
The Scottish Conservatives and Labour have criticised the SNP’s NHS track record amid sky rocketing waiting times for patients.
At First Minister’s Questions, both Tory leader Douglas Ross and Labour leader Anas Sarwar asked Nicola Sturgeon to justify statistics that show the number of patients waiting over two years for treatment has increased from 648 to 10,613.
Speaking first, Ross said: “Right now, there are 10,613 Scots who have waited more than two years for treatment in Scotland’s NHS. That’s a 16-fold increase on last year.
“This isn’t the NHS recovery the government promised. Things are getting far worse, not better.
“Now, we’re hearing of heart patients being given appointments two years away. Reports today state that people are receiving appointment dates in July 2024.
"First Minister, is this acceptable?"
Sturgeon said the NHS has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and is still struggling to recover. The First Minister said: “This is a challenging time for our NHS, given the impact of a two-year pandemic which is still making its presence felt, but the government is supporting health boards to ensure that the recovery happens and that those waiting longest are seen as quickly as possible.”
Sturgeon added: “There is literally not a health service anywhere on the planet that has not had to deal with the impacts of the Covid pandemic.”
Labour leader Sarwar highlighted a constituent who contacted him about her eight-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism ten months ago but was told he must wait to see a psychiatrist before medication can be prescribed. Sarwar said “he is still waiting, and he is begging for the medication – in his words, ‘to sort out my head’,” before asking Sturgeon: “Why does an eight-year-old have to suffer with no support, for almost a year?”
The First Minister replied: “They shouldn’t, and I’m not going to say that is acceptable. But again, in mental health treatment, as in our NHS generally, we're investing to support health boards recover from the pandemic.
“And we’re seeing signs of improvement - according to this week's statistics, we saw a 20 per cent increase in treatments from the same quarter in last year.”
Sturgeon also added: “What we see in mental health is more people are coming forward for treatment, more people are being seen for treatment, but we're building up services further.
“Anas Sarwar supposedly offers solutions, but he hasn't said anything today that isn't already being done."