NHS: Tens of thousands waiting on tests and treatment “need new hope” 


Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

By Lucy Ashton

Health Secretary Hunza Yousaf is presiding over a ‘deepening NHS crisis’, Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, said today, as the latest statistics have revealed the size of the NHS backlog.

As of the 30th of September, as many as 125,557 patients were awaiting a key diagnostic test – a rise of 8.9%, over 10,000 people, from the previous quarter and 42% higher than the 12-month average before the pandemic. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 35,983 patients are waiting for their diagnostic tests with a further 3,624 waiting in NHS Highland.

Statistics have also shown that 425,242 people are currently waiting on their first outpatient appointment. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 123,063 are waiting for their first outpatient appointment with a further 18,525 waiting in NHS Highland.

At 30 September 2021, 106,496 patients were waiting to be admitted for inpatient or day case treatment under the 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 29,109 patients have been left waiting with a further 6,086 in NHS Highland.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:   “Today’s statistics clearly show that the NHS is facing a deepening crisis, with thousands of Scots stuck on waiting lists.    

“This SNP government is presiding over record-breaking waiting lists and the threat to patient outcomes could not be clearer.

“Frontline NHS staff are working tirelessly to deliver for patients, but the SNP government has entirely failed to support them in their work.  If lives are to be saved, the Health Secretary must act now.”

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillieas described the latest A&E waiting time figures as atrocious.

During the week ending 21 November 2021, 73.2% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, just 67% of people were seen within 4 hours – the second worst A&E figures seen within the health board. In NHS Highland, just over 82% of people were seen within 4 hours – still below the government-set target of 95%.

She said:  “These atrocious figures show the SNP are still failing to get a grip on the crisis ripping through our NHS.  We cannot let this chaos become the new normal.  Staff are working tirelessly to plug the gaps, but there is only so much they can do.

“There is no more time to waste when lives are on the line. The SNP must act now to get emergency services back on their feet before winter really bites.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said patients and NHS staff desperately “need new hope” after statistics revealed that 126,000 people are waiting for key diagnostic tests and waiting lists are getting much worse.

Public Health Scotland statistics show:

  • 126,000 patients were waiting to be seen for eight key diagnostic tests at the end of September – an increase of 10,000 since June with the waiting list now 42% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • More than four in ten patients waiting at 30 September for these key tests were waiting longer than the 6-week standard (42% compared to 37% at the end of June).
  • The waiting list for procedures under the First Minister’s legally binding 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee increased by a further 9.3% between June and September 2021, and now stands at over 100,000.
  • The Treatment Time Guarantee was breached for 80,000 patients (patients seen during the quarter or still waiting at its end).
  • Performance against the 4-hour A&E waiting time declined again in the week ending 21 November.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, pictured right,  said: ““The long waits are as bad as ever and the backlog of people needing treatment is growing fast.

“These terrible figures show why the attentions of SNP ministers must be squarely upon the NHS. For Nicola Sturgeon to spend the weekend reheating the independence campaign was an insult to patients and staff.

“People need new hope that they will be diagnosed and treated quickly. The retention of staff is so important this winter because without them every plan to recruit new people, stabilise the health service and curtail the backlogs will fall flat. It is why Scottish Liberal Democrats have proposed an urgent new Burnout Prevention Strategy to protect everyone on the frontline this winter.”

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