Jackie Baillie MSP with supporters at Vale of Leven Hospital.

By Democrat reporter

Thousands of patients have had their operations cancelled, chronic pain clinics are closed and people are losing hope of ever getting their health back, according to Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh.

She said this week’s Public Health Scotland statistics that have shown only 1,076 planned operations were scheduled in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board for June this year compared with 5,870 for June last year.

Ms Baillie added: ““This massive drop in scheduled operations is alarming and painfully difficult for thousands of local people in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute.

“SNP Ministers were slow to enter lockdown and slow to equip our NHS with PPE and other vital equipment.

“The uncomfortable truth is that the Scottish Government’s pandemic preparations were inadequate and the NHS has largely been locked down to the detriment of many local patients with other needs.

“Thousands of Scottish patients have had their operations cancelled, chronic pain clinics are closed and people are losing hope. A backlog of delayed surgery is snowballing and new patients fear they’ll wait years to be treated.

“The SNP’s Treatment Time Guarantee wasn’t worth the paper it was written on before Covid-19 hit, and the only guarantee patients have now is that it will take a very long time to be seen.

“The Health Secretary [Jeane Freeman] must urgently restart NHS services to ensure that local patients in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute get the treatment they need.”

Meanwhile, the local MSP pointed to the link between deprivation and cancer and underlined the importance of early diagnosis.

She said: “This weeks statistics have underlined what we already know – that it is the most vulnerable in our society that are in greatest danger from cancer and early diagnosis is vital to improving their chances of survival.

“With almost 400,000 cancer screenings cancelled by the Scottish Government due to the pandemic, we face a potential tsunami of cancer deaths.

“We were told that urgent cancer tests and treatment would not be disrupted but many cancer patients in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute have been impacted.

“The Health Secretary [Jeane Freeman] has been too slow to get cancer screening and treatment back on track. We must equip our NHS to treat cancer as well as treating those with Covid-19.

“Early detection is vital and for that reason both screening and dental check-ups, which are vital for detecting oral and maxillofacial cancers, must be restarted without delay.”

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