SNP MISMANAGEMENT PUTS NHS’ FUTURE UNDER THREAT - MONICA LENNON

24 October 2018

Audit Scotland’s damning report into the SNP’s mismanagement of the NHS shows that the future of our health service is threatened under Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour has said.

The watchdog report found:

• The financial standing of health boards “is not sustainable”

• Nicola Sturgeon cut the health budget by 0.2 per cent in real terms last year

• The number of people waiting over 12 weeks for an inpatient appointment is up 26 per cent and for an outpatient appointment is up 6 per cent on 2016/17

• The number of unfilled vacancies is up for nursing & midwifery, consultants and GP posts

• Performance declined against all eight key national targets between 2016/17 and 2017/18

Nicola Sturgeon has ignored staff and patients, and put the future of Scotland’s NHS at risk.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Monica Lennon MSP, said:

“This damning report confirms the devastating consequences of SNP mismanagement of our NHS.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s government has routinely ignored the problems raised by staff and the people who rely on the NHS. Her inaction has put the future of our NHS under threat, with the financial and workforce problems worsening under her watch.

“In recent years the number of unfilled vacancies for nurses, midwives and GPs has soared, creating a staffing crisis on our hospital wards. Worryingly, only a third of NHS workers believe there is enough staff to give patients the care they deserve.

“Three of our country’s health boards had to be bailed out last year whilst the rest were forced to make unsustainable cuts to services because the SNP cut the health budget in real terms.

“After more than a decade of SNP complacency our NHS is in crisis. Nicola Sturgeon must now put the country before her party and use the full powers of the Scottish Parliament and the resources and expertise available to the Scottish Government to halt this NHS crisis."

Key quotes from ‘NHS in Scotland 2018’:

“The NHS in Scotland is not in a financially sustainable position. NHS boards are struggling to break even, relying increasingly on Scottish Government loans and one-off savings.” (P5)

“The NHS faces significant workforce challenges. Recruitment remained difficult in 2017/18, while sickness absence and turnover increased.” (P8)

“The overall health budget in 2017/18 was £13.1 billion, a 0.2 per cent decrease in real terms on the previous year.” (P8)

“In the 2017/18 annual audit reports, auditors highlighted significant levels of risk around boards’ ability to break even in 2018/19. At May 2018, NHS boards were predicting a deficit of £131.5 million in 2018/19” (P11)

“In 2017/18, the [savings] figure rose to £449.1 million. This represents 3.6 per cent of total revenue allocations to NHS boards. Despite this, the NHS did not meet its overall savings target of £480.8 million in 2017/18, falling short by seven per cent, £31.7 million.” (p12)

“It is becoming more and more difficult to identify areas in which NHS boards can make one-off savings... At the start of the 2017/18 financial year, NHS boards were unable to identify where 28 per cent of all planned savings would come from, up from 17 per cent the previous year, and three per cent five years ago” (p13)

“Backlog maintenance remains significant across the whole estate at £899 million in 2017/18 and a number of hospitals and other health facilities will require significant investment to ensure they remain fit for purpose.” (p16)

“As the way healthcare is delivered changes, the existing NHS estate will need to adapt to reflect this. The Scottish Government has not planned what investment will be needed.” (p16)

“The NHS met only one of eight key national performance targets in 2017/18… Performance declined against all eight key national targets between 2016/17 and 2017/18.” (p18)

“In the final quarter of 2017/18, 93,107 people waited more than 12 weeks for their first outpatient appointment, an increase of six per cent on the previous year. The number of people who waited more than 12 weeks has increased by 215 per cent in the last five years. People waiting more than 16 weeks increased by 13 per cent between 2016/17 and 2017/18, and by 558 per cent over the last five years.” (p19)

“2017/18 annual audit reports of NHS boards indicated that financial pressures will continue to have a detrimental impact on performance.” (p19)

“the percentage of patients rating the quality of care provided by their GP practice as positive has declined from 90 per cent in 2009/10 to 83 per cent in 2017/18.” (p20)

“There are indications that finding effective leaders and support teams is becoming more difficult.” (p26) “Only 62 per cent of respondents to the 2017 national health and social care staff survey felt that the senior managers responsible for the wider organisation were sufficiently visible. 64 per cent of respondents had confidence and trust in the senior managers responsible for their wider organisation.” (p27)

“The majority (63 per cent) of board members surveyed by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee in 2018 thought their board had the right skills, knowledge and expertise. However, a third thought their board only partly had the right skills, knowledge and expertise.” (p29)

“If health and care services are to change to meet the needs of Scotland’s people, then the NHS and the Scottish Government must become more open.” (p30)

“There is still no overall picture of how the NHS is performing and the difference the NHS is making to people’s lives.” (p31)




SNP HAS NEVER HIT CANCER WAITING TIME TARGET UNDER STURGEON



25 September 2018

The SNP has never hit a key cancer waiting-time target since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, Scottish Labour analysis reveals.

The health service is expected to ensure that 95% of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer do not wait more than 62 days to start treatment.

This key target has never been met under Sturgeon’s stewardship of the NHS, with just 84.6 per cent of patients being treated within the 62 days in the latest quarter to June 30 this year.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

“We all know the faster a patient begins cancer treatment the greater chance it gives them to live.

“It is shameful that Scots are failed on this each day in our NHS.

“The key 62 day target has never been met under Nicola Sturgeon’s stewardship since she became First Minister almost four years ago.




MORE THAN 1,400 BEDS CUT FROM NHS UNDER THE SNP



25 September 2018

More than 1,400 beds in acute care services in the NHS has been cut under the mismanagement of the SNP government, official figures show.

New statistics from ISD Scotland show that the number of beds decreased by 2 per cent year-on-year in 2017/18 and a total of 1,434 beds have been cut under the SNP since 2008/09.

The slashing of beds has coincided with the SNP’s failure to honour their promise to end delayed discharge and the growing number of vacant nursing posts, creating an NHS’ capacity crisis.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

“Scotland’s NHS is being mismanaged by the SNP government.

“Our health service has 1,400 fewer beds than it did a decade ago.

“This comes amid the SNP’s broken promise to end delayed discharge and the skyrocketing number of vacant nursing posts, causing a capacity crisis in hospital wards.

“Unlike the SNP, Labour has listened to hard-pressed staff and established a workforce commission to design a blueprint for the health service’s future.

“Labour built the NHS and only Labour has the vision and the ideas to protect it.”

“It’s time for her to stop putting the SNP before the NHS and give patients the care they deserve.”




LIFE EXPECTANCY FALL SHOULD SHAME SNP AND TORY GOVERNMENTS



25 September 2018



Commenting on today’s appalling life expectancy figures, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

“For the first time in 35 years the life expectancy of both men and women has fallen in Scotland.

“That is a statistic which should shame both the Tory and SNP governments.

“After more than a decade of the SNP in charge of the country’s health service, Scotland has the lowest life expectancy rates of any part of the UK.

“Only a radical Labour government will use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to fight poverty and health inequalities.”




SNP HEALTH SECRETARY MUST MAKE STATEMENT ON LATEST NHS TAYSIDE CRISIS



17 September 2018

Scottish Labour is today (Sunday) calling on SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to address the latest crisis engulfing NHS Tayside with an urgent statement at Holyrood after a member of its audit committee resigned citing patient safety fears.

The crisis-hit health board has confirmed that three members of its vitally important audit committee, including a whistleblowers' champion who has cited concerns about patient care, have resigned from their posts.

Munwar Hussain, who was only appointed in April, told the Sunday Post he is leaving the committee as the concerns "are serious but they are not taking it serious".

NHS Tayside has already received £45.3 million in loans from the Scottish Government in recent years to keep it afloat, and official estimates show it is hurtling towards a £18.7 million black hole in its books come the end of the current financial year.

Scottish Labour's health spokesperson, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

"These resignations from NHS Tayside’s vitally important audit committee plunge the health board into deeper turmoil.

“For a member of this committee to leave their post as they believe that serous concerns regarding patient care are not being dealt with is deeply troubling.

“SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must now come to Holyrood as soon as possible give a full and frank statement of what has gone on inside the health board and, most importantly, what does she intend to do about it.

“The list of problems at NHS Tayside is a lengthy one.

"The health board is the subject of a live investigation into mental health treatment failures and is hurtling towards a fresh financial crisis with experts forecasting an £18.7 million black hole in its books by the end of the current financial year.

"The public have lost confidence in the heath board.

"In order to start repairing the damage and rebuilding trust with the people of Tayside, the health secretary must come to Parliament and answer questions as soon as possible.

“Scottish Labour will continue to stand up for hard-pressed NHS staff in Tayside and across Scotland who are being failed by the SNP’s mismanagement of our health service.”




MORE THAN 14,000 YOUNGSTERS FORCED TO WAIT FOR MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT UNDER STURGEON



16 September 2018

Over 1,000 young people wait more than a year for treatment.

More than 14,000 children and young people have had to wait longer than 18-weeks to receive Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, Labour analysis reveals.

Since Nicola Sturgeon came to power in November 2014, 14,345 children and youngpeople were forced to wait longer than 18-weeks for mental health treatment, with a staggering 1,185 young people waiting for over a year.

The figures follow a joint report from the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission this week, which revealed that performance for Child and Adolescent Mental HealthServices have gone backwards under the First Minister.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

“More and more young people are coming forward to seek treatment for their mental health problems as the stigma surrounding the topic diminishes in our society.

“Sadly, thousands of these brave young people who have sought help have had to endure intolerable waits for treatment.

“Scotland’s young people deserve better than this.

“For far too long Nicola Sturgeon has put the SNP before the NHS and ignored the problems within our health system.

“Labour has listened to patients and hard-pressed NHS staff and established a workforce commission to ensure our NHS is fit for the future.”




ALMOST 1,800 WOMEN IN BREAST CANCER SCREENING FAILURE



13 September 2018

Almost 1,800 women have not been invited to their final breast cancer screening session in a serious failure in Scotland’s health system, the SNP government has admitted.

A total of 1,761 women aged over 71 were not invited to their final screening, some of whom should have been screened three years ago.

The serious failure has come to light after the then-SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison told Parliament in May in regards to a similar problem in England that “the issue does not affect the NHS in Scotland” and “patients should be reassured that there are no problems with our breast screening programme records or information technology systems.”

Scottish Labour’s shadow public health spokesperson, David Stewart MSP, said:

“This is a serious and deeply distressing failure in one of the most crucial diagnostic areas of our National Health Service.

“It is vital that those women who are overdue their final screening receive one as quickly as possible.

“I was in Parliament in May when the-then SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison said that there was no issue in Scotland’s breast cancer screening programme. "We now know that was not the case and that almost 1,800 women have been badly, and potentially fatally, let down.

“If the government can be wrong on an issue as crucial as this, then many members of the public will rightly wonder if there are additional diagnostic screening failures in the NHS.

“SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must now quickly establish why this failure occurred and how many women have been subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer after missing their screening.”




ALMOST 25,000 REFERRALS FOR MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT REJECTED UNDER STURGEON



13 September 2018

Nicola Sturgeon’s failure to act on the crisis in child and adolescent mental health services has seen almost 25,000 referrals for treatment rejected in her time as First Minister.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Labour leader revealed that there had been 24,923 rejected referrals for treatment in child and adolescent mental health services since Nicola Sturgeon took over as First Minister.

Richard Leonard revealed the numbers on the back of a damning report on the condition of mental health services, published today by the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission.

It also follows a review, published in June, showing that some young people were being turned away from mental health treatment because they did not appear suicidal.

Labour questioned why it has taken four years for the government to act on what is a crisis in mental health services for young people.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Today’s expert report makes clear that access to Scotland’s mental health services for children and young people has not got better during Nicola Sturgeon’s time as First Minister, it’s got worse.

“Almost 25,000 referrals for mental health treatment for young people have been rejected since Nicola Sturgeon took office First Minister.

“Today’s report calls for a “step change”, and Labour will work with the government to deliver the changes we need. That’s why we pressed for counsellors in schools and for a review of these rejected cases. But the reality is the government has been too slow act, because it did not take this issue seriously enough.

“Nicola Sturgeon has been too slow to act, and as a result has let these children and young people down for over a decade. The First Minister owes a sincere apology to these young people for her failure to act.”




SNP DELAYED DISCHARGE BROKEN PROMISE COST NHS £125M IN SINGLE FINANCIAL YEAR



11 September 2018

The SNP government’s failure to honour their promise to abolish delayed discharge from the NHS cost the health service £125 million in just one single financial year alone.

A new report from the health service’s Information Services Division shows each bed day in 2016/17 cost the NHS an average of £234, with the failure to abolish it costing a total of £125m during the period in question.

Nicola Sturgeon’s government promised the Scottish people that they would end the scandal in 2015.

The SNP have broken their promise, leaving people to languish unnecessarily in hospital beds and costing the taxpayer millions of pounds.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

“The SNP government’s broken promise is costing Scotland hundreds of millions of pounds each year and putting our overworked NHS staff under even more pressure.

“Hundreds of patients each month are languishing unnecessarily in hospital beds when they could be receiving appropriate care at home.

“The vast majority of these patients are aged over 75. The failure to properly tackle the social care crisis and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets – are causing this multi-million-pound scandal.

“The next Scottish Labour government will deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training and paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel, to reform our social care sector.

“Labour built the NHS and only Labour can be trusted to give our health service a bright future.”




SNP FAILING ON 11 OUT OF 19 NHS STANDARDS



11 September 2018

The SNP government is failing on 11 out of 19 NHS standards, new analysis from Scottish Labour can reveal.

An annual summary of the state of the health service highlights the major challenges facing Scotland’s NHS, and the urgent need for action by new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

Among the failings are standards to detect cancer early, and waiting times for both A&E patients and those waiting for routine operations.

In several areas, performance has declined since 2017.

LDP (Local Delivery Plan) Standards are priorities that are set and agreed between the Scottish Government and NHS boards to provide assurance on NHSScotland performance.

An independent review of the standards was carried out and concluded last year, with a number of recommendations.

In her programme for government, Nicola Sturgeon said a waiting times improvement plan will be published later this month.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar MSP, said:

"After more than a decade of this SNP government, there has been yet another year of failure in our NHS.

"These failures are despite the tremendous efforts of our NHS staff, who have been let down by Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers.

“With former Health Secretary Shona Robison recently removed from her post, the scale of the challenge facing new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is now clear.

“Behind every failed standard are thousands of patients who have been let down, many of whom are desperate for treatment and are left in pain and anxiety.

"It simply isn’t good enough.

“The waiting times improvement plan promised by the First Minister is long overdue, but it has to be matched by staffing increases and filling vacancies.

"Too many patients have suffered as a result of the SNP’s failure to make our NHS fit for the future.”




FLAGSHIP WAITING TIME LAW ‘NOT WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON’



1 September 2018



The SNP’s flagship waiting time law has been broken over 150,000 times since it was introduced, new analysis from Labour reveals.

In 2012 the SNP introduced the Treatment Time Guarantee, which gave patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations.

New figures released this week show that this law has been broken over 35,000 times so far in 2018, and 153,170 since it was introduced.

What’s more, performance appears to be getting worse.

Since the beginning of 2018, 24.8 per cent of patients seen had waited longer than 12 weeks, compared to 18.3 per cent in same time period in 2017.

Labour said the figures were indicative of a health service under strain.

Labour health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said:

“The SNP’s flagship waiting time law now looks more like an ill-advised PR stunt than a piece of legislation giving patients proper rights.

"Over 150,000 people have waited longer than the 12 weeks the SNP government promised.

“This is more than another broken promise from the SNP – these rights were written into law and are now being broken on what appears to be a daily basis.

"Many patients across Scotland will conclude this law simply is not worth the paper it is written on.

“With performance appearing to get worse, we need to see some proper action from the SNP government in Edinburgh, with a workforce plan to solve the NHS workforce crisis.

“Labour is working alongside trade unions, charities, social care groups and other health organisations to develop the blueprint that our NHS needs to deliver the care patients deserve in the future; we need an end to sticking plaster solutions.”




LABOUR ASKS CARERS WHAT NEXT FOR CARER’S ALLOWANCE



29 August 2018

Labour has launched a major discussion paper aimed at maximising the incomes of Scotland’s carers.

As the new carers’ allowance supplement comes into effect, the party is inviting carers to set out how best Holyrood can use its new powers over the allowance to bolster the support offered alongside the benefit.

The paper seeks the opinions of carers on a number of suggestions aimed at increasing support for carers and their families, including maximising incomes and reducing council tax.

Other ideas include removing current limitations on other earnings, or time spent in education, which can currently make someone illegible for receiving carers allowance.

Scottish Labour’s Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP said:

“Carers deserve every support for the valuable care and love they give every day to their relatives and friends.

“With the carer’s allowance supplement finally starting to pay out, that payment must be the start of the new support, not the end.

“Now is the time to think about the overall package of support provided alongside entitlement to carer’s allowance covering work, study, and across public services

“That is why Scottish Labour has launched this major discussion paper to ensure their voices are heard.

“It is absolutely vital that carers themselves have a voice in what kind of support they want and need.

“Scottish Labour has already secured valuable extra support for carers in Scotland – and we stand ready to continue the fight on their behalf.”

Download discussion paper at :

https://scottishlabour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Recognising-Carers-Carers-Allowance-Discussion-Paper.pdf






AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIMES WORSENING UNDER SNP



27 August 2018

Scottish Labour can today reveal a shocking rise in ambulance response times under the SNP government.

Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, the number of emergency calls which took more than 10 minutes to be responded to almost doubled to 305,000.

Meanwhile patients waiting over two hours for a response rose by 645%.

The shocking figures come after Labour revealed last month that the number of single-crew ambulances being dispatched in Scotland rose by almost 50% during this same period.

It's clear that the SNP government is not giving the Scottish Ambulance Service enough funding to cope with demand.

Scottish Labour MSP, Daniel Johnson, said:

"Our ambulance staff perform lifesaving work every day, but are under pressure like never before, and these are shocking figures which will concern many members of the public.

"It's well known that for a number of illnesses a swift response time can make all the difference.

"Not only are thousands of Scots having to wait more than two hours for an ambulance, we know that the number of ambulances being dispatched with a single crew has rocketed.

"These new figures make clear that the SNP government is continually letting down the public and letting down paramedics due to its chronic under-funding of our NHS.

“Labour would invest in the Scottish Ambulance Service, ensuring it has the equipment and staff it needs to continue its life-saving work.”




NO-DEAL TORY BREXIT WOULD BE 'CATASTROPHIC' FOR NHS - BMA

17 August 2018

A no-deal Tory Brexit would be “catastrophic” for our NHS, the BMA has warned.

The leading medical association has outlined serious concerns about staffing, reciprocal healthcare and the supply of medicines if Theresa May fails to strike a deal.

In a bombshell report, the BMA state:

Delays for diagnosis and treatment with the UK out of EURATOM.

Major disruption caused for almost one million patients receiving treatment for rare diseases as the UK would be excluded from the European Rare Disease Network.

No reciprocal healthcare agreements could see 190,000 UK state pensioners who live in the EU return home for treatment costing between £500 million and £1 billion per year.

Fewer medical staff able to be recruited into the NHS from EU already during a staffing crisis.

It’s clear that a Tory no-deal Brexit would damage our NHS, our economy and our country.

Labour has been clear that we will guarantee the rights and status of existing EU and EEA nationals, but we will also ensure our NHS and care sector can recruit the staff needed to care for our sick and elderly now and in the future.

Only a Brexit deal that meets Labour’s six key tests will protect our NHS, the Tories simply can’t be trusted to safeguard our health service.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“Theresa May’s mantra that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ looks increasingly out of touch with reality.

“This report by our leading medical association makes clear that a no-deal Tory Brexit will damage our NHS, damage patIent care and cost our health service money.

“It’s time for the Tories to take Britain back from the cliff edge and start working towards a deal that protects our country, not a disorderly exit which will clearly harm it.

“This is why Labour has set out six key tests which would ensure any Brexit deal protects workers’ rights, gives the UK the same benefits we enjoy as members of the Single Market and allows for a migration system which works in the interests of the economy.

“Labour created the NHS and only Labour can be trusted to give our health service a brighter future.”




A&E TARGET MISSED FOR 11 MONTHS


7 August 2018



The SNP’s A&E waiting time standard has been missed for 11 months in a row.

Official figures published today show 95 per cent of patients have not been admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours from Emergency Departments across Scotland at any point since July 2017.

Meanwhile the figures also show that 42,375 bed days were lost in June this year to delayed discharge – an increase of eight per cent compared to the same month in 2017.

That means 248,246 bed days have been lost to delayed discharge so far in 2018.

The figures, provided by ISD Scotland, also show that so far in 2018 more than a quarter of cancelled operations were scrapped due to capacity or non-clinical reasons.

Scottish Labour said the figures showed the scale of the challenge for new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP – and urged the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in our health service.

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“For almost a year, thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“That is unacceptable – and so is the huge increase in bed blocking due to delayed discharge, up eight per cent on last year, meaning there are already almost 250,000 bed days lost since the start of 2018.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“It is now clear new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP faces a monumental challenge if she is to even start undoing some of the failings of her predecessors.

“A good place to start would be to follow Labour’s lead and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to properly fund our NHS to ensure it works for the many, not the few.”




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND


9 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."




DRIVE FOR EQUALITY WILL MAKE THE NHS FIT FOR NEXT 70 YEARS

7 July 2018

Labour has said that tackling health inequalities is the key to ensure the NHS is fit for the next 70 years.

To mark the 70th birthday of the health service the party has announced that a Scottish Labour government will assess every policy for their impact on health inequalities.

These ‘health inequality assessments’ would extend to all government decisions from its budget, to policies in areas such as housing, transport, education and justice.

Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said:

“Labour founded our NHS, based on need not ability to pay. The health service is our proudest achievement, socialism in action and Labour will always fight for it.

“On our health service’s 70th birthday, only Labour has a plan to ensure it is fit for the next 70 years. The sticking plaster solutions of the Tories and the SNP will only go so far – we need real and radical change in our society to take the pressure off of our hospitals.

“Right now in Scotland, life expectancy and quality of life has as much to do with the privilege of the postcode you are born into as anything else.

“The next Scottish Labour government will ensure a ‘health inequality assessment’ of every policy. That doesn’t just mean our health and social care policies, but all across government from our budget to housing, transport, justice and education.

“The fundamental reform our health service needs isn’t service closures – it is changing our society to work for the many, not the few.”




SARWAR OUTLINES 10 POINT ‘PRESCRIPTION’ FOR THE NHS

7 July 2018

Scottish Labour has revealed a 10-point prescription plan to ensure the National Health Service is fit for the future.

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday this week, but services and staff are under immense strain after years of underfunding.

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, has today [Saturday] put forward plans that will ensure the NHS cannot just survive but thrive for the next 70 years.

The plans include using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to give the health service a cash boost and ensure every school in Scotland has access to a mental health counsellor.

Labour built the NHS in 1948 and it is only Labour in 2018 that is putting forward radical plans to ensure our grandchildren have a health service that is there for the many, not just the few.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The creation of the NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement in government. “We have had events across Scotland celebrating its 70th birthday, but we have to be honest and admit that it is a service under immense pressure and our NHS staff are overworked, undervalued and under-resourced.

“We have been exposing a decade of mismanagement by the SNP government, but we have also been developing plans outlining what we would do differently to make it fit for the next 70 years.

“Labour’s 10-point prescription plan would transform our NHS and ensure it is there for everyone who needs it.

“Our plan would deliver more resources, a stronger workforce and take head on the challenges of cancer, mental health and social care.

“It would mean a generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services. It will mean a diagnosis within 2 weeks if your GP suspects you have a cancer and dignity in retirement with a proper social care package.

“Labour built the NHS and it is only Labour that has a radical and bold plan to ensure it is fit for the future.”


Labour’s 10-point prescription for the NHS

1. Use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to deliver more money for our NHS.

2. A health inequality assessment of every government policy to ensure a positive impact on health outcomes.

3. A credible and deliverable workforce plan. Reverse cuts to training places made by Nicola Sturgeon and delivering a meaningful pay increase and a return to collective bargaining.

4. A generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services.

5. Protection of local NHS services to stop threats to paediatric, maternity and Out of Hour services.

6. Taking the fight against Scotland’s biggest killer head on with a cancer diagnosis within 2 weeks.

7. Access to vital lifesaving medicines, so patients don’t have to share their intimate stories on the front pages of newspapers or by protesting outside Parliament in order to get the medicines they need.

8. Adequately fund local government so we can end cuts to social care budgets and the scandal of 15 minute care visits.

9. Access to free sport and a bold obesity strategy so we can prioritise prevention and promote good health and wellbeing.

10. Impose a cap on what private agencies can charge for a single shift so that we can reduce agency spending which has skyrocketed under this Government.






Comment on Drug-related Deaths

4 July 2018

Commenting on new figures showing drug-related deaths in Scotland have reached record levels, Scottish Labour's Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"Scotland's drug strategy has failed.

"These are absolutely shocking figures that should be a wake-up call for the SNP government.

“The fact that drugs deaths in Scotland are two and half times the rate of the rest of the UK is particularly troubling – as is the more than 200 per cent rise in the number of women dying from drug-related causes.

“Lives have been ruined and families left to cope with grief and trauma for years to come.

"The SNP government has slashed alcohol and drug partnership funding at a time when drug deaths were hitting record levels.

"SNP ministers need to give themselves a shake and take responsibility for their actions. If you underfund vital substance misuse services people die.

"I urge the SNP Government to have the courage to take a different course to ensure this shameful record is reversed."




SNP DELAYED DISCHARGE FAILURE COST NHS £440 MILLION UNDER STURGEON

4 July 2018

The SNP government’s failure to abolish delayed discharges in the NHS has cost the health service £440 million since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, Labour has revealed.

Former SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison vowed to eliminate delayed discharges from the health service in 2015, but the only thing that has been axed since is herself.

Figures released from ISD Scotland show a total of 43,244 bed days were lost in May, meaning 205,871 have been lost so far in 2018 .

Nicola Sturgeon’s new Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must get to grips with this problem immediately, or patients will continue to suffer unnecessary stays in hospital.

Labour said years of SNP cuts to local council budgets has put social care services under significant strain leaving many hospital patients unable to access the services needed to return home.

Labour founded the National Health Service 70 years ago and the party will always fight to secure its future.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“The SNP government’s broken promise is costing Scotland millions of pounds each year, and putting an intolerable strain on NHS wards.

“Hundreds of patients each month are languishing unnecessarily in hospital beds.

“Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets.

“Labour’s would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday it is only Labour - the party that founded the health service - that has a sustainable plan for its future.




ALMOST 500 OPERATIONS CANCELLED IN MAY

4 July 2018

Almost 500 planned operations were cancelled in May because hospitals couldn’t cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 489 operations were cancelled due to issues with capacity in May.

This means 4,236 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018 due to a lack of capacity in the NHS – meaning an average of 28 cancelled operations each day this year solely because the NHS couldn’t cope.

Scottish Labour said thousands of patients are being badly let down by the SNP government and the new Health Secretary must break from the decade of mismanagement.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Thousands of operations have been cancelled so far this year because our NHS couldn’t cope, leaving staff frustrated and patients in discomfort and pain.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday our health service is seriously struggling to cope with a staffing crisis created by the SNP government.

“Each of these cancelled operation leaves a patient waiting for vital treatment that hospitals have not been able to give because staff are overworked and undervalued.

“The new Health Secretary must quickly give our NHS the support it needs or she will end up dumped out of office like her predecessor.

“Only the Labour Party will use the powers of the parliament to fund our NHS to ensure Scotland has a health service that it fit for the future.”




A&E WAITING TIME TARGET MISSED FOR NINTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

4 July 2018

Scotland’s monthly interim A&E waiting time target has been missed for the ninth consecutive month, new figures show.

The SNP has an interim target of 95 per cent of patients admitted, transferred of discharged within four hours of arriving at A&E.

New figures from ISD Scotland show just 93 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

Labour said it is time for the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to fund our NHS properly.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“For nine long months thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our the NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Labour Party creating the NHS, only the Labour party will use the powers of the parliament to properly fund our NHS for the future and ensure we have a health services that works for the many, not the few.”




REVEALED: HUGE COST OF LOCUM GPS

3 July 2018

The huge cost of the SNP GP crisis has been revealed today, with freedom of information requests exposing some health boards are paying up to £1,400 a day for cover.

Freedom of information responses released to Scottish Labour has revealed GPs charged as much as £1,400 per day for cover in Orkney in 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available.

The problem is not contained to rural Scotland and the Islands however, with charges in NHS Lanarkshire as high as £1,132 per day and £885 per day in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Two of the biggest health boards in the country – Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Lothians, were unable to provide the information.

However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde does admit that out of hours locums are able to charge over £100 an hour.

Labour released the figure as part of a week spent campaigning on the health service, ahead of the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said:

“The NHS is our most valued public service and Labour’s proudest achievement.

“It is utterly shocking that the SNP GP crisis has created a situation where locum costs are over a thousand pounds a day.

“The reality is the SNP has underfunded primary care for over a decade and as a result family doctors are left over stretched, overworked and under too much pressure.




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND

2 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."





SNP PERFORMANCE ON CANCER WAITING TIMES A 'NATIONAL SCANDAL'

26 June 2018

Scottish Labour has accused the SNP of failing cancer patients after new figures showed declining performance in cancer waiting times with hundreds of patients missing the government’s key waiting time targets.

Official statistics show more than 500 people suspected of having cancer had to wait longer than 62 days from referral to treatment in the first three months of 2018 alone.

The target is that 95 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer should wait a maximum of 62 days from referral to first cancer treatment.

However, performance was 10 per cent below that target - at 85.0 per cent. That is a drop from the 87.1 per cent in the previous quarter and 88.1 per cent at the same period last year.

The figures also reveal 382 people had to wait longer than the 31-day standard for treatment to begin after doctors decided to treat them.

Performance saw 93.5 per cent starting treatment within the 31-day standard, which is a decrease from 94.6 per cent last quarter and 94.9 per cent at the same point in 2017.

The figures follow a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes, but instead the SNP government is continually failing patients across Scotland.

“Having one person waiting too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced. Health Secretary Shona Robison’s legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."






Comment on BMA survey

26 June 2018

Commenting on a BMA survey showing two thirds of doctors believe inadequate resources are significantly affecting the quality and safety of care provided by the NHS, Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"These are deeply troubling reports that once again show just how badly the SNP has mismanaged our NHS.

"As doctors say themselves, the SNP has left our health service staff overworked, under-staffed and under-resourced - and it is patients who are paying the price.

"It is increasingly clear that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is out of her depth and out of time, with the SNP government presiding over a recruitment crisis in our health service.

"Scottish Labour has already launched an NHS workforce commission to find solutions to the SNP's workforce crisis in our health service - and we would end SNP and Tory austerity and invest in our health service so our doctors and nurses get the support they need."




SNP GOVERNMENT UNDERSPENDS NEARLY HALF A BILLION POUNDS WHILST CUTTING SERVICES

21 June 2018

The SNP government has underspent almost half a billion pounds last year whilst inflicting brutal austerity cuts across the country, new figures show.

SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has today [Thursday] admitted that he has set aside £453m of funds as an ‘underspend’. This is money that should be used to support our public services.

Instead of funding these vital services, the SNP government has opted to cut council budgets by £1.5 billion since 2011.

Scottish Labour is calling on Mr Mackay to apologise to workers facing the axe whilst he sits on millions of pounds in St. Andrew’s House.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance James Kelly said:

“Labour will always fight to protect Scotland’s vital public services.

“The news that SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay underspent almost half a billion pounds whilst cutting council budgets by £1.5 billion.

“Money is piling up in his slush fund for his annual bribe to win Green votes to get his budgets passed.

“This is simply a gross mismanagement of Scottish finances by a Finance Secretary that is clearly out of his depth.

"Throughout his tenure as Finance Secretary, Mr. Mackay his tinkered on tax instead of ensuring the richest pay their fair share to fund our schools, hospitals and other vital public services.

“Derek Mackay must apologise to communities across Scotland that have been damaged by his reckless actions.

“Scottish Labour will always put our public services first and will use the powers of the Parliament to end austerity.”




REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH TO IMPROVE SCOTLAND’S HEALTH – SMITH

12 June 2018

The best long term plan for improving Scotland’s health is the redistribution of wealth, Labour said today.

The party highlighted the findings from the Scottish Centre for National Research, showing:

- 62 per cent of respondents think that large gaps in incomes is unfair.

- 58 per cent of respondents would be willing to pay more tax to help the health of poorer people in Scotland.

- 72 per cent believe that people in better off areas tend to be healthier than those in worse off areas.

- 71 per cent felt that those with more money are better able to live healthier lives.

Labour said the findings supported its call to make the wealthiest pay their fair share, and use revenues to tackle poverty and inequality.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of poverty and inequality Elaine Smith said:

"It is clear that the best long term plan for improving Scotland's health is re-balancing Scotland's wealth.

"This report shows that the majority of people in Scotland accept that health inequalities in our society are driven by wealth inequalities. The top 1 per cent in Scotland own almost as much wealth as the bottom 50 per cent put together. That is unacceptable and unsustainable.

"Scotland can only be a healthier country if it is a fairer country. That is why Labour is the only party with a comprehensive range of policies to tackle poverty in our society.

"Labour would poverty-proof all government policies and fix our broken energy markets and housing systems. We would make the richest pay their fair share and redistribute that wealth to those who need it the most.

"All of these actions would reduce the strain on our NHS, which already sees overworked and undervalued staff counting the cost of the SNP and Tory government's failure to tackle poverty effectively."




Delayed discharge failure has cost £392million

7 June 2018

Delayed discharge has cost our NHS over £392 million since the SNP Health Secretary pledged to eradicate it.

The figure was revealed by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard at First Minister’s Questions today, who told Nicola Sturgeon to put patients before her party.

In 2015 Shona Robison pledged to ensure that delayed discharge - the process of a patient being stuck in hospital despite being medically cleared to leave - would be ‘eradicated’ out of the system by the end of the year.

Labour said the stark figure summed up the SNP government’s handling of the health service.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Shona Robison’s broken promises on delayed discharge has cost the health service over £392million.

“This week the government was forced to admit that it has not met its A&E waiting times target for eight consecutive months, hundreds of operations are being cancelled every single month, waiting times are up year on year, and our hardworking NHS staff are overstretched and undervalued.

“Patients deserve better than this. They deserve a Health Secretary who is up to the job.

“Nicola Sturgeon should finally put patients before her party and accept that it is time for Shona Robison to go.”




A&E WAITING TIME TARGET MISSED FOR EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

5 June 2018

Scotland’s monthly interim A&E waiting time target has been missed for the 8th consecutive month, new figures show.

The SNP has an interim target of 95 per cent of patients admitted, transferred of discharged within four hours of arriving at A&E.

New figures from ISD Scotland show just 90 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“It is disgraceful that another month passes and another target is missed and it shows our accident and emergency wards are at breaking point under the SNP.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of the NHS.

“A&E figures show the overall condition of the NHS, these missed targets are because of years of cuts to primary and social care.

“SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has blamed everything except her own dismal performance for these successive failures. It’s time for her to step down.




WARM WORDS ON MENTAL HEALTH ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH – SARWAR

5 June 2018

Warm words from the SNP on mental health are not good enough, Labour said today, as new figures show the scale of failure on mental health services.

In child and adolescent mental health services, 1,147 young people waited more than 18 week target time for treatment in the first three months of 2018 – a jump of over 60 per cent from the 712 who waited over the target time in the same period last year.

On psychological therapy waiting times for adults, more than 3,300 patients waited longer than the SNP’s 18 week target for psychological treatment, an increase of more than 400 cases compared to the same time last year.

Labour has been pushing the SNP government to deliver better mental health services in recent months, with leader Richard Leonard raising the matter repeatedly at First Minister’s Questions.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“Warm words from the SNP government on mental health are not good enough.

“If these figures were replicated in our A&E wards there would be a national outcry. We hear plenty from ministers about parity of esteem for mental health services and acute services – but these figures show that just is not happening.

“Labour has pressed the government on these failures time and again, but the response simply has not been good enough.

“NHS patients and staff deserve better than these continued failures.”




NHS STAFFING CRISIS ‘OUT OF CONTROL’ - SARWAR

5 June 2018

- Almost 3,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS

The staffing crisis in Scotland’s health service is spiralling out of control, new figures reveal.

Data released by ISD Scotland today shows that 2,812.7 WTE nursing and midwifery posts were unfilled in our health service as of 31 March 2018.

In addition to this there are 422.5 WTE vacancies for consultants. The number of consultant vacancies remaining unfilled for six months or more has seen a 23.7 per cent (48.6 WTE) increase to 253.9 WTE in the last year.

In 2012 Nicola Sturgeon cut the intake for nursing and midwifery students by nearly 300. Labour said the figures exposed the scale of the workforce crisis the SNP had created in our health service.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The SNP’s NHS staffing crisis is spiralling of control, with a huge spike in unfilled posts for consultants and almost 3,000 vacancies in nursing and midwifery.

“These failures lie at the door of Bute House. Nicola Sturgeon cut the number of training places for nurses when she was Health Secretary in 2012.

“A recent survey of NHS staff found only around a third of staff believe there are enough of them to do their jobs properly. The result of that is patients not getting the care they need in time.

“That’s why Labour has established a workforce commission to establish a blueprint to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good.”




NEWS: OVER 500 OPERATIONS CANCELLED IN APRIL

5 June 2018

More than 580 operations were cancelled in April because hospitals could not cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 587 operations were cancelled in April – up from 490 in 2017.

This means 3,747 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018.

Scottish Labour said the figures show it is time the Health Secretary, Shona Robison, steps down before more patients are failed.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Thousands of operations have been cancelled so far this year thanks to the shambolic management of SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison.

“Our health service is seriously struggling to cope with a staffing crisis created by the SNP government.

“Each of these cancelled operation leaves a patient waiting in pain for treatment that hospitals have not been able to give because staff are overworked and undervalued.

“Shona Robison needs to take her head out of the sand. She has been unable to face up to the challenges of the portfolio. It’s time for her to do the decent thing and resign.”




NEW GP TRAINING PLACES ARE 'STICKING PLASTER SOLUTION'

1 June 2018

Commenting on the news that the SNP government is to fund just 85 new GP training places Scottish Labour's shadow cabinet spokesperson on health, Anas Sarwar, said: “Of course Scottish Labour welcomes any investment in our NHS. But the reality is that after more than a decade in power the SNPs legacy on our heath service is creating a workforce crisis.

“This is yet another sticking plaster solution by an SNP government is putting Nationalism before our National Health Service.

“The Royal College of GPs estimate that Scotland will be short of 856 GPs by 2021, this scheme will deliver at best just 85 new doctors.

“Scotland needs far more GPs to keep local surgeries open to give people the care they need.

“Our NHS is stumbling from crisis to crisis. The interim A&E waiting time target has not been met in nearly a year, experts warned this week that radiology services are ‘starting to crumble’ and it was revealed 130,000 Scots have waited longer than the SNP’s flagship legal treatment time guarantee for conditions such as knee and eye operations.

“Many of these problems have worsened under Health Secretary Shona Robison’s watch and she has lost credibility with staff and patients who deserve better . It’s time she did the decent thing and go.”






THE SNP’S BLIZZARD OF SPIN ON NHS PERFORMANCE

29 May 2018

Once again SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is attempting to blame the severe weather created by the Beast from the East on NHS performance on her watch.

The Health Secretary attempted this at the start of May in an attempt to justify failed performance on Delayed Discharge soaring cancelled operations and unacceptable levels of patients waiting more than 12 hours at A&E.

Regarding the Beast from the East:

The Met first delivered an amber warning from the Met on the 26th February with a first red warning on the 28th.

By the 2nd of March the Met office advised that conditions were easing.

On the Treatment Time Guarantee the period covered is from January-March 2018

As Richard Leonard outlined at First Minister’s Questions this week, the trend for the Treatment Time Guarantee is actually a decline of patients seen in the past year – but more patients waiting more than the government’s legal promise of 12 weeks.




OVER 55,000 PATIENTS JOURNEYS LONGER THAN 18 WEEK STANDARD

29 May 2018

Labour has raised concerns over the health of the health service after new figures for the 18 week referral to treatment standard revealed over 55,000 patient ‘journeys’ took longer than the 18 week target in the first three months of the year.

The Scottish government target for that 90.0 per cent of patients should have a completed pathway within 18 weeks however performance only reached 81 per cent.

Labour said the failures on this standard speak to problems across the health service rather than one specific pressure point.

Labour has established a workforce commission to develop a blueprint to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“NHS staff work round the clock to provide the care Scots need but it is becoming increasingly clear that they are facing an uphill struggle under this SNP government.

“Too many Scots are waiting too long between referral to treatment. That suggests problems across the whole health service, not just in one or two key pressure points.

“Labour has established a workforce commission to develop a blue print to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good. Shona Robison should reflect on these figures and reflect on her own position as health secretary. The problems in our health service are mounting up.”




WAITING TIMES FOR KEY CLINICAL TESTS BRANDED UNACCEPTABLE

29 May 2018

- 1 in 5 wait longer than six weeks Labour has branded waiting times for key diagnostic test for conditions such as cancer unacceptable, as new figures reveal almost 18,000 cases were taking longer than they should have in new data published today.

That means that 80.6 per cent of patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at 31 March 2018 had been waiting less than six weeks - a drop of almost 7 per cent compared to March the previous year.

A standard waiting time of six weeks was set by the Scottish Government in 2009 for diagnostic tests such as CT and MRI scans to aid early detection of conditions like cancer or brain tumours.

However, new figures released today show at least 17,139 as of March this year were waiting longer than the 6 week expected standard.

Labour said the figures were unacceptable, and are rooted in the SNP government’s long term mismanagement of NHS in Scotland.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“These figures are frankly unacceptable. Too many patients are waiting too long for these key tests.

“These standards are in place to ensure that people with potentially serious conditions get the benefit of early detection and have the best possible chance of a full recovery.

“Instead, the SNP government is presiding over growing waiting lists for patients and growing pressures on our NHS staff.

“We know the SNP Government has completely failed to workforce plan properly. Soaring vacancies for consultants and increasing vacancies for nurses are symptomatic of that.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to put the NHS before the SNP – and find a new health secretary to deliver better support for our health service.”




NICOLA STURGEON SHOULD PUT THE NHS BEFORE THE SNP

25 May 2018

Nicola Sturgeon should put the NHS before the SNP, Richard Leonard said at First Minister’s Questions today.

The Scottish Labour leader revealed figures showing a 234 per cent increase in patients failed under the Treatment Time Guarantee since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.

Last year, over 54,000 people waited longer than the 12 weeks the SNP promised.

That means performance under the guarantee – a legal right the SNP introduced in 2012 – has gone from 95 per cent in 2015 to 81 per cent in 2017.

Earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon pledged to restart the debate on independence, with the SNP’s Growth Commission due to be published tomorrow in an attempt to reboot the case for separation.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“The long delayed SNP Growth Commission report is published tomorrow.

That might excite the backbenches of the SNP but it will exasperate the millions of people right across Scotland who just want the First Minister focused on public services.

“The SNP promised that people would be treated within twelve weeks. In Nicola Sturgeon’s first year as First Minister that promise was broken to one patient in every twenty. Last year it was broken to one patient in five.

“This is the fifth time in six weeks that I have raised the problems in our NHS with the First Minister. There are serious problems right across the health service, and they are growing.

“That’s what the people of Scotland want the government to be focused on. Not another referendum. Not more division. Nicola Sturgeon has to finally realise that the people want her to put the NHS before the SNP.”




Comment on Safe Staffing Bill

24 May 2018

Commenting on the publication of the Safe Staffing Bill, Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said: “The reality is that the SNP has simply failed to properly workforce plan, leaving our doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“Medical staff have repeatedly raised concerns that the SNP’s management of our health service is stretching it to the limit and putting patient safety at risk.

“We support the principle of this Bill and welcome any attempt to fix this SNP mess, but as the BMA point out, this bill will not address the fundamental issue that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has left our NHS chronically understaffed.

“Scottish Labour would end the staffing crisis in our health service and properly invest in our NHS so it works for the many, not the few.”

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