NHS Performance Worsening on Jeane Freeman's Watch

26 June 2019

One year on from Jeane Freeman’s appointment as Health Secretary, the NHS’ performance has worsened, Scottish Labour can reveal.

Despite being lauded as a steady hand to reverse the decline brought about by her predecessor, patients are not getting the care they need under Freeman.

Key waiting times are being missed and vacancies are growing inside the already strained NHS.

Scotland’s NHS under Jeane Freeman

- Accident & Emergency waiting time target missed every month of Freeman’s tenure.

- Cancer treatment waiting times worsened.

- Chronic pain treatment times worsened.

- Musculoskeletal waiting times worsened.

- SNP’s Treatment Time Guarantee is being broken more often.

- Vacancies for consultants and nurses growing.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Health, Monica Lennon MSP, said:

“Despite all the hype around Jeane Freeman’s appointment, Scotland’s NHS is going backwards during her first year in charge of Scotland’s health service.

“Staff are overworked and patients are not getting the care they deserve.

“It is time for the Health Secretary to stop the spin and listen to NHS staff and people across Scotland who urgently want our health and social care services to be properly resourced.”

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Scotland's Mental Health Crisis Claims Almost 800 Lives in 2018

26 June 2019

Commenting on new figures showing a rise in the number of suicides in Scotland in 2018, Monica Lennon MSP said:

“Scotland’s mental health crisis is claiming the lives of almost 800 people every single year.

“Around 100 young people under the age of 25 died by suicide last year, with the total number of young men ending their lives through these circumstances rising for the fourth consecutive year.

“In August, the SNP government promised to reduce the suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2020. But these figures show things are getting worse, not better.

“Suicide is preventable and we need action from Jeane Freeman to give our mental health services the resources they need to stop this tragic loss of life.”

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Health Secretary Must Provide Answers on Mesh Scandal

17 June 2019

Commenting on reports that mesh campaigners have called on the Health Secretary to consider her position, Neil Findlay MSP said:

“There may have been no date in the diary for the reintroduction of mesh in Scotland, but it seems clear the Scottish Government was planning it.

“If, as the Health Secretary insists, this senior group of doctors and officials did not meet in February to discuss how and when mesh should be reintroduced, then she should publish the minutes.

“If this was indeed the purpose of the meeting, despite her denials, then the questions will get very serious indeed.”

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon added:

“What matters more than the Health Secretary’s reputation is the health of Scotland’s mesh injured women.

Jeane Freeman must report to Parliament immediately and make an urgent statement.”

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Organ Donor Change Will Save Lives – Mark Griffin

12 June 2019

The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of changing the system of organ donation to an opt-out system.

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs in a move that Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin has praised as life-saving.

Mr Griffin, whose father Francis died in 2007 days after a heart operation following a 10-year wait for an organ transplant, previously introduced a Member’s Bill in 2016 which would have introduced an opt-out system, and pledged to work with the SNP government to change the system.

Mr Griffin’s initial proposal followed work driven by former Labour MSP Anne McTaggart in the last parliamentary term, which was voted down at the time by the government.

Mark Griffin said :

“Too many families like mine have lost a loved one waiting for an organ donor.

“I’m delighted for all of those families waiting now that the system has now been changed, after many blocked attempts from doing so.

“This Bill will save lives throughout the country and ensure we have an organ donor system which is fit for purpose.

“I’m proud that the Scottish Parliament has risen to the occasion, so we can try to ensure that no more families will lose a loved one waiting for an organ donor.”


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Comment on Obesity Action Scotland survey - restrictions on junk food advertising

6 June 2019

Commenting on a survey from Obesity Action Scotland which reveals support for restrictions on junk food advertising, Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon said:

“It’s encouraging that there is clear support for broadcasting restrictions on the advertising of junk food.

“Obesity is a major public health issue in Scotland – and whilst balanced diets are a key part of maintaining health, it’s clear that far more needs to be done.

“Scottish Labour have previously called for restrictions on promotions and marketing of foods high in salt, fat and sugar, and the SNP Government should not shy away from bold action on this.

“Restrictions on food sales must also be coupled with a strategy to make healthy options more affordable, alongside efforts to tackle poverty – which is often the root cause of ill health.”


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SNP Must Listen or “The Future of the NHS is Not Sustainable” – Monica Lennon

6 June 2019

- 1 in 4 children in young people waiting too long for mental health treatment.

- Nursing and midwifery vacancies rising.

- Spending on agency staff in nursing and midwifery soaring to more than £26 million.

The SNP government must listen and change direction or "the future of the NHS is not sustainable", Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Monica Lennon has said.

The warning comes after official figures published by ISD Scotland showed a catalogue of problems across the health service.

One in every four children and young people seen for mental health treatment in the first three months of 2019 had to endure a wait of more than 18 weeks to get the treatment they needed, with 3,120 still waiting over 18 weeks at the end of the quarter.

Meanwhile, 5 per cent of nursing and midwifery posts for qualified and support staff are vacant (up from 4.5 per cent last year) and spending on agency staff in this area has soared by 10.9 per cent year-on-year to £26.2million.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Monica Lennon MSP, said:

“Hardworking staff in health and social care are spinning more plates than ever as we enter the 13th year of the SNP in government.

“People are right to ask why they and their families are forced to wait for urgent mental health services and social care.

“SNP Ministers should have done much more on health prevention and NHS workforce planning. Instead operations are routinely cancelled and people are stuck in hospital for longer than necessary.

“Mental health is a priority in words only. Scottish Labour knows this needs to change and we are prepared to do the hard work to ensure Scotland’s health and social care services are fit for the future.

“The Scottish Government must show a willingness to change direction because the future of the NHS is not sustainable otherwise.”


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