SNP mismanagement is hurting our health service

6 December 2016

SNP mismanagement is hurting our health service, Scottish Labour said today, as new figures show a range of problems in our NHS.

Official figures publish

ed by ISD Scotland today reveal: • Over 600 operations cancelled in a single month due to capacity reasons.

The SNP’s interim A&E target missed again, with Scotland’s £850 million flagship hospital in Glasgow recording the poorest performance in the country at 82 per cent.

An increase in the number of unfilled consultant, nursing & midwifery posts in our NHS.

Labour said the SNP need to recognise the growing workforce crisis in the NHS, which is leading to overworked, undervalued staff and patients losing out. Labour Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said:

“A decade of SNP mismanagement is beginning to really hurt our health service. There is a growing work force crisis which is getting worse. This is increasing the pressure on staff who are already overworked and under stress and ultimately it is patients who lose out. “We are seeing more than 600 operations cancelled because hospitals cannot cope with the pressure they are under.That is a worrying sign as winter comes in.

“Only a third of NHS staff think there are enough of them to do their jobs properly and nine out of ten nurses think their workload is getting worse - it is clear that our hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to cope.

“When she was health secretary Nicola Sturgeon cut places for nursing training, so it’s no wonder our NHS doesn’t have the posts filled. It’s that kind of mismanagement that is hurting our health service and sees an unacceptable amount of people waiting longer than they should at A&E.

“Shona Robison needs to get her head out of the sand and sort the problems in our health service, which are getting worse on her watch.”

A decade of SNP government has sent Scottish education backwards

6 December 2016

A decade of SNP government has sent Scottish education backwards

A decade of SNP government has sent Scottish education backwards, Labour said today, as a worldwide study delivered a damning assessment of education under the SNP.

The 2015 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) results show:

- Scotland declining in reading

- Scotland declining in mathematics

- Scotland declining in science

The research also shows Scotland falling behind countries across the world.

In reading, Scotland’s OECD rank has gone from 6th in 2000 to 23rd in 2015. In mathematics Scotland has gone from 9th in 2003 to 24th in 2015 and in science Scotland is now 19th, compared to 10th in 2006.

Labour said the SNP government would be wrong to use the results as political cover to centralise education services in Scotland.

Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray said:

“SNP ministers should be ashamed of these results. For all their warm words about making education a priority we are seeing performance going backwards as Scotland drops down international league tables.

“These are terrible results after ten years of SNP government. They must wake up to the fact that their year-on-year cuts to school budgets, teachers numbers and support staff are damaging the life chances of Scotland's children.

“The SNP has also failed to address the problems with the SQA and Education Scotland, which were laid bare in parliament last week.

“Education Secretary John Swinney must not use these results as political cover to justify centralising school budgets and support. That will not fix this.

“The SNP government in Edinburgh should halt these damaging plans and instead use the parliament’s powers to invest in our schools, ensuring they have enough teachers and support staff to reverse this decline.

“Nothing else will repair the damage of a decade of SNP government to our education system.

“If the budget next week contains hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts to local education budget then it will be clear that the SNP’s promise to prioritise education was nothing more than pre-election spin.”

Unfilled nursing and midwifery posts rocket under SNP control

26 November 2016

The number of unfilled nursing and midwifery posts have rocketed under the SNP, new analysis from the Scottish Labour has revealed.

Since 2011 there has been a fourfold increase the in the number of unfilled nursing and midwifery posts in our NHS, going from 579 to 2,566.

The party released the figures ahead of a national campaign day on the NHS, with hundreds of Labour activists across the country will take to streets to campaign on the NHS.

When Nicola Sturgeon was Health Secretary she slashed training places for nurses and midwives.

In NHS Highland, where there is strong local opposition to proposals for a downgrade to a maternity unit in Caithness, vacancies have increased from 33 to 123 in five years.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde Glasgow, where local services are threatened with the axe, vacancies have rocketed from 53 to 892.

Labour Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said:

“The foundations of our most valued public service are our NHS staff, but in the last five years the number of unfilled nursing posts in our NHS has rocketed.

“A decade of SNP mismanagement of our NHS has created a workforce crisis with 9 out of ten nurses saying their workload has gotten worse and a third of NHS staff saying there aren’t enough of them to do their jobs properly.

“These problems did not appear overnight, they happened on Nicola Sturgeon’s watch as when she was Health Secretary. Shona Robison appears completely incapable of cleaning up her boss’s mess.

“The SNP government need to accept there is a problem if they are ever to fix this mess. If NHS staff aren’t given the support and resources they need it is patients who miss out. This impacts on patient care to with 7 out of 8 standards failed.

“That’s why Labour want to use the powers of the Scottish parliament to take the pressure off our hospitals and NHS staff, and ensure better care for patients.”

'E' grade exam a panic measure following botched SNP education reforms

24 November 2016

Plans for a new exam “E” grade have been branded a panic measure following botched SNP reforms to education.

TESS today reports that the Scottish Government’s assessment and national qualifications working group is considering lowering the mark needed for a D grade and introducing a new ‘E’ grade.

The move is understood to be considered to address ‘unintended consequences’ of the SNP government’s decision to scrap unit assessments.

Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray said:

“Pupils should get credit for their achievement, especially the so-called “cusp” candidates, but the best way to do that is to sort out the exam system properly.

“This is openly a panic measure to deal with what headteachers are calling the unintended consequences of a decision made directly by John Swinney.

“It also follows a car crash appearance by senior figures from the SQA at the Holyrood Education Committee this week. The committee’s research showed that most teachers no longer trust them to run the exam system. Every day of SNP mismanagement makes more of a dog’s breakfast of the exam system, so critical to our young peoples’ future”

Passengers Deserve A Fare Freeze

24 November 2016

Rail passengers in Scotland could save nearly £100 on key commuter routes with a fare freeze next year.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale today unveiled a new campaign leaflet as she joined commuters at Haymarket Station in Edinburgh to call for a 2017 fare freeze.

Transport spokesperson Neil Bibby was at Glasgow Central Station, and Labour MSPs will be campaigning across the country in the coming days.

Under the SNP, regulated rail fares are due to rise by up to 1.9 per cent from January.

But if ministers agree to Labour’s plan for a fare freeze, commuters purchasing a monthly season pass could save nearly £100 over the course of 12 months:

• £82.06 between Edinburgh and Glasgow

• £94.57 between Glasgow and Perth

• £89.40 between Edinburgh and Dundee

Speaking outside Haymarket Station, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“Passengers are fed up with expensive, overcrowded and delayed trains.

“They deserve a break. That is why Scottish Labour believes passengers deserve a fare freeze in 2017.

“On some commuter routes, this could save passengers nearly £100 over the course of a year.

“Nicola Sturgeon has said she will consider our proposal.

"Rail fares are due to rise in January, so the SNP should intervene right now to give passengers the fare freeze they deserve.”

The SNP has cut nearly 1,000 nursery teachers since 2010

26 November 2016

Scotland has lost nearly a thousand nursery teachers since 2010, new analysis has revealed.

In 2010 there were 2,420 qualified teachers working in Scottish nurseries, but according to the most recent figures there are 1,519 - a fall of 901.

Save the Children has urged the Scottish Government to increase the number of teachers working in nurseries as well as staff with specialist training in speech and language development.

Scottish Labour Shadow Education Minister Daniel Johnson said:

"All the evidence makes clear that the gap between the richest and the rest exists even with children at nursery. Early intervention is absolutely key to cutting the gap between the richest and the rest.

“Save the Children is calling for more qualified teachers in nurseries. That is something the SNP pledged to do in deprived areas, but Scotland has lost over 900 nursery teachers in the last five years.

“When will the SNP start to reverse this trend? The Nationalists said that education would be their top priority. If that is still true they should back Labour’s amendments to the Scottish budget so that we can use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in education.”

Labour pressure means legal duty on social security payments

23 November 2016

Commenting on tonight’s social security vote in the Scottish Parliament, Labour Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin said:

“Thanks to Labour pressure the Scottish Parliament has voted for a legal duty to ensure that everyone gets the social security payments they are entitled to.

“In Scotland today 100,000 people aren’t claiming the tax credits they are entitled to and 53,000 carers aren’t getting the carer's allowance they should be.

“This all adds up to hundreds of millions of pounds of support that people are not getting. That now must change.

“Making sure, in law, that cash goes to the people who are entitled to it could make a huge difference. Thousands of families across Scotland are one big unexpected bill away from really struggling.

“Parliament has voted to change that, and the SNP must now bring forward the appropriate measures in the Social Security Bill."

Response to ministerial statement on ScotRail

23 November 2016

Responding to today’s ministerial statement on ScotRail, Labour Transport Spokesperson Neil Bibby said:

“This week the Minister claimed ScotRail wasn’t a poor service – passengers standing on overcrowded platforms, waiting for late running overpriced trains would beg to differ.

“The facts are that Humza Yousaf demanded an improvement plan and then ScotRail services have become worse.

“His handling of the rail crisis has seen him fall out with Abellio, Network Rail and the transport unions.

“Humza Yousaf claimes he's not a transport expert – and he’s right.

“Humza Yousaf must ditch the spin and publish his 246 point improvement plan in full.

“He must also make a commitment to when services will get better – he said it would be March before targets are hit, that surely cannot be the case now.”