By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton today repeated his call for extra staff support and an independent inquiry into avoidable deaths connected to the emergency care crisis, after new A&E figures shoed thousands more people enduring long waits.
The number of people seen in A&E within the target time was 73.8%, well below the 95% target time.
Public Health Scotland data for the week ending 7 November shows 1,278 patients waited more than eight hours to be seen, and 419 waited more than 12. These figures come amidst the continuous support of the army to NHS boards.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These long waits are unacceptable. Behind each and every one is a person in pain and a team of staff struggling to help them because they don’t have the support.
“Staff are doing everything they can, the army is still providing support to health boards, and yet the situation remains precarious. The NHS and patients are paying the price of over a decade of SNP mismanagement, and their failures in workforce planning and retention.
“This autumn’s waits have been the worst on record. The Health Secretary must stop using the pandemic as an excuse for his government’s shortcomings and commit to a full independent inquiry into the avoidable deaths arising from the emergency care crisis.”
Meanwhile, responding to the First Minister’s Covid statement, health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP called for enhanced lateral flow testing to replace ineffective Covid ID cards in light of the emerging evidence that COP26 was staged safely without them.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “If any proof were needed that vaccine certification is unnecessary and there are better alternatives then it can be found at COP26.
“Using daily lateral flow tests, attendees were three times less likely to test positive for Covid-19 than the general population where vaccine certification is at large.
“We know that LFTs are superior to vaccine passports. They provide an on the day snapshot of your covid status, helping ascertain who is sick and who is well, and they remove the need to share your medical history with someone who is not your clinician.
“The First Minister should abandon vaccine certification entirely and build a scheme around lateral flow testing.”