By Democrat reporter
A new analysis carried out by the Scottish Liberal Democrats shows that almost 170,000 scheduled operations have been lost to the pandemic between March and December 2020.
Figures published by Public Health Scotland show that 309,650 operations were conducted between March 2019 and January 2020. However between March 2020 and January 2021, this figure was just 141,441, a decrease of 168,209.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented: “These statistics show the grim reality we live in. Despite the best efforts of our NHS heroes, COVID-19 has prevented many procedures from being carried out. People are in pain, friends and families feel powerless, while the NHS backlog continues to grow, and more people continue to suffer while stuck on a seemingly endless waiting list.
“The pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of operations to be cancelled. However, a pandemic does not ease the pain of the loss of a loved one. I would like to extend my condolences to all those who lost their loved ones, and to thank our NHS for all their continued efforts during these difficult times
“The SNP does not seem to understand that right now we need a needle-sharp focus on recovery and a solid plan to strengthen the capacities of our NHS. The people of Scotland need a robust and effective NHS recovery plan, one that will focus on catching up on lost operations and guarantee people the care they need.”
Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow and, above, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Meanwhile, responding to new mental health waiting times statistics for the end of 2020 showing a record 1,892 children and 5,452 adults waiting more than year for treatment, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie commented: “There were already a record number of children waiting over a year for treatment at the outset of the pandemic, years into the SNP Government’s mental health strategy. Now they number nearly 2,000, with record numbers of adults waiting over a year too.
“A year feels like a lifetime if you are waiting for help. Problems that can start small become crises. Frontline staff are working tirelessly but there aren’t enough of them.
“In the past month Scottish Liberal Democrats have led the Parliament in declaring a mental health crisis, against the wishes of the government, and secured £120 million more for mental health in the course of our budget negotiations with ministers.
“This should be the platform for a new government that puts recovery first and transforms mental health services. Scottish Liberal Democrats want to get you fast access to help whenever you need it through a serious expansion of the mental health workforce. It is time to finally end the scandalous waits of over a year. “