By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has raised concerns about the growing number of positive cases and deaths that are still occurring in West Dunbartonshire.
In the week to 15 August, West Dunbartonshire had the joint highest deaths with five people having lost their lives from COVID-19. In the same week, the number of positive cases per 100,000 of the population of West Dunbartonshire sat at 258.1, with a positivity rate of 8.3%.
This compares to the Scottish average of 193.2 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 6.7%.
Jackie Baillie MSP, pictured left, said: “It is certainly cause for serious concern that our community has the highest death rate in Scotland, alongside some other areas. First and foremost my condolences go to the friends and loved ones of all those who have lost their lives.
“As society reopens, these deaths and the number of positive cases in the area are a stark reminder that the virus is still a threat to us and caution should continue to be taken.
“This rise in cases in the week that schools are going back and many people return to office requires urgent action from the government to ensure that the virus can be controlled and supressed.
“As ever, my thanks goes to all the frontline workers who, 18 months on, are still working tirelessly to keep us safe.
Commenting on reports that A&E waiting times are at their worst for six years, Scottish Labour deputy leader and health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:“Today’s shocking statistics have laid bare the disaster that is unfolding in our A&E services. Thousands of lives are at risk and the government is nowhere to be seen.
“For months now Humza Yousaf , pictured right, has had his fingers in his ears. Simply saying ‘crisis, what crisis?’ will not cut it.
“The SNP needs to get its act together, start listening to frontline staff and patients, and re-mobilise the NHS so that people do not have to end up at the front door of A&E. It’s time for the Minister to wake up and act before further lives are put at risk.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie has commented on the newly released statistics on probable suicide. These statistics show that there is still a huge disparity between the most and least deprived areas in Scotland.
The figures showed that the suicide rate in Scotland’s most deprived areas is three times the rate in the least deprived areas.
The probable suicide rate (both crude and age-sex standardised) in the period 2016 – 2020 was three and a half times higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.
West Dunbartonshire, has seen a year on year increase in the number of deaths by suicide, rising from 6 in 2017 to 17 in 2020.
However, the area also has the largest change in mortality rate between 2000-2004 and 2016-2020, which decreased from 21.9 deaths per 100,000 to 13.8 deaths per 100,000 (down by 37%).
Jackie Baillie added: “Today’s figures prove that many communities across the country are being badly let down by the Scottish Government.
“We know that the pandemic has led to a sharp rise in mental health issues and that those needing treatment have faced long waits.
“Behind every figure is a tragic story of someone who has lost their life to suicide and a family who has lost a loved one.
“The SNP has the power to make life better for those in Scotland’s most deprived areas and today’s figures demonstrate the need for immediate action.
“The recent rise in the number of suicides happening in West Dunbartonshire is a tragedy and urgent attention is needed.
“While it is positive that West Dunbartonshire has seen an overall drop in suicide rates in the last 20 years the fact that it is now on an upward trend is troubling.
“If action is not taken now to resource services properly to ensure people are helped quickly, we will face a human catastrophe in Scotland – there can be no cause for delay.
“Today we will hear about figures, but Scottish Labour’s thoughts remain with all those who have lost a loved one.”