SNP health targets slated in Holyrood parliament by Labour and Lib Dems

The QE2 University Hospital; Vale of Leven Hospital; Jackie Baillie MSP; Health Board CEO Jane GRant and LibDem spokesperson on health, Alex Cole-Hamilton.

By Bill Heaney

Opposition parties at Holyrood have the scalpels out for the local Health Board over the Government’s failure to deliver on NHS target figures.

Jackie Baillie, the MSP for West Dunbartonshire, says new figures show that the target for cancer patients to receive treatment within 62 days of referral has been missed again.

And Scottish Liberal Democrats have today revealed patients stuck in hospital on delayed discharge for hundreds days after they were declared ready to leave, branding the situation “miserable”.

Ms Baillie claims that only 83.3 per cent of cancer patients were treated within 62 days in the last quarter – well below the 95 per cent target.

But the SNP have refused once again to discuss these claims with The Democrat. Their pathetic “no comment” boycott stands.

The statistics from ISD also revealed pressures at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where only 80 per cent of cancer patients were treated within the 62-day target. With Greater Glasgow and Clyde being one of two boards in Scotland to miss the 31-day treatment target following a decision to treat, the other being NHS Lothian.

Ms Baillie said the figures were a major cause for concern and further evidence of the need for more investment in the NHS workforce.

The latest statistics follow a report from the Cross Party Group on Cancer this year, which found that staff shortages were having a detrimental impact on cancer diagnosis rates.

She added: “Early detection and treatment are crucial to chances of survival, and it’s really concerning that the treatment waiting time target continues to be missed.

 “I support a two-week waiting time for cancer diagnosis to raise survival rates, and to prevent thousands of people enduring a worrying wait to begin treatment.”

“There is also a worrying variation across health boards in Scotland, with one in five cancer patients in Greater Glasgow and Clyde having to wait longer than the two-month target.

“It isn’t good enough, it’s clear that Greater Glasgow and Clyde along with the rest of the NHS in Scotland are suffering a workforce crisis. The stats even say that staffing shortages in the colorectal and urology services have impacted its performance”.

Freeman Jeane“The Health Secretary [Jeane Freeman], pictured right, must set out in detail how she will urgently increase capacity in cancer detection and treatment to deliver the care that people need.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have today revealed that patients are stuck in hospital on delayed discharge for hundreds days after they were declared ready to leave, branding the situation “miserable”.

Freedom of information requests by the party have uncovered the longest periods patients across the country had their discharge from hospital delayed for health and social care reasons during 2018/19.

The investigation found patients spending hundreds of nights in hospital when they didn’t need to be there, due to a lack of available support in the community, including:

Scores of delays were attributed to ‘health and social care reasons’, meaning they involved patients waiting on a care home place; support to enable them to return to their own home or for a needs assessment to be conducted.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: “Keeping someone in hospital unnecessarily for a year costs the NHS almost £100,000. Hospitals are getting congested all the way up to critical care because there isn’t enough capacity to take care of people in the community.

“Even more damaging is the crushing cost to patients’ wellbeing. Conditions worsen and critical opportunities to rebuild their lives are lost. It’s miserable.

“Medical staff have declared these people ready to leave hospital but the community-based support they need to move on simply doesn’t exist. These are factors within this government’s control. Indeed, the SNP Government promised to eradicate delayed discharges from the system by 2016.

“It’s time to end the social care scandal. Staff are working tirelessly but there just aren’t enough of them to go around.

“The SNP’s new workforce plan, published a whole year late, must now make demonstrable progress.

“Furthermore, we simply can’t afford for existing staff to be driven away by the Conservative’s damaging Brexit, so Boris Johnson must now step up too.”

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