HEALTH MATTERS: HEALTH MINISTER ‘MISSING IN ACTION’ AS NHS CRISIS CONTINUES

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf looks exhausted. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

The SNP Health Minister, who looks beleaguered and bedraggled in the picture above, is  “missing in action” despite the ongoing crisis in our NHS, Dumbarton Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said today.

Statistics published this morning have shown that between 1st April and 30th June 2021, the target for 95% of those urgently referred on suspicion of cancer to start treatment within 62 days was badly missed with only 84.1% of patients starting treatment within the target time. The 62 day target has not been met since 2012.

Humza Yousaf fell while scooting in the Scottish Parliament earlier today

Humza Yousaf comes a cropper when he fell off his scooter while travelling too fast to a meeting at the Holyrood parliament.

These statistics also show that not one single health board met the 62 day standard during this most recent quarter and that some 629 people have waited over the 62 days for treatment.

Fortunately, Yousaf himself did not require hospital treatment after his fall en route to the debating chamber.

The fact that he was going too fast in all the circumstances is obvious from the fact that his Civil Service bag [and crutches] carrier had to run to keep up with him.

It seems the Health Secretary, whose undignified crash was witnessed on television, had suffered an achilles injury while playing badminton.

The serious business of running the Health Service turned to hilarity when he crashed to the highly polished floor,.

It was red faces inside and outside the chamber when Mr Yousaf had to report to MSPs that in terms of the cervical screening programme, only 72.7% of referrals started treatment within 62 days of referral.

And that for those referred from the colorectal screening programme, only some 66.5% started treatment within 62 days.

The statistics also show that A&E waiting times remain in disarray with only 74.4% of attendances seen in four hours and 341 patients spending more than 12 hours in an A&E department during the week ending 19th September.

With the majority of NHS health boards cancelling elective procedures over recent weeks, including NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, which covers West Dunbartonshire and Argyll, cancelling life-saving cancer surgery, the need for action is greater than ever.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: ““Our NHS is in disarray, cancer services are in crisis and our A&E departments are overwhelmed, but the Health Minister is missing in action.

“We simply cannot have health boards being forced to cancel procedures due to lack of support.

“These long waits for cancer services risk a ticking time bomb of cancer deaths. There can be no time to delay.

“Our A&E services remain overwhelmed with thousands of Scots waiting too long to be seen.

“The Health Secretary must wake up to the crisis unfolding on his watch and act to support services and keep the people of Scotland safe.”

And give that scooter of his a wide berth for a while.

The video was posted on Twitter by BBC Political Editor Glenn Campbell earlier following First Minister’s Questions in the parliament.

He tweeted: “The health secretary @HumzaYousaf does not appear to be having a good day at work…”

Yousaf replied to the tweet from Campbell saying: “All for media scrutiny & never shy away from it.  Just not sure there is need or purpose to tweet out a video of me falling over while injured.”

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