By Bill Heaney

Jackie Baillie has called for spare theatre space at the Vale of Leven Hospital to be used in order to cut down waiting lists as we approach what could be a difficult winter.

One in seven Scots are now currently on an NHS waiting list, a figure which has worsened throughout the year.

In January, the Dumbarton constituency MSP raised the issue of free theatre space at the Alexandria hospital with Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf however no action has yet been taken to bring this back into use.

Since then the waiting lists have increased significantly from 650,000 at the start of the year to almost 750,000 people now stuck on waiting lists including almost 140,000 waiting for elective procedures. Outrageously, over 35,000 people have already waited a year for diagnosis and treatment and over 10,000 are still waiting after two years.

Jackie Baillie, right, said: “The Vale of Leven Hospital stands ready to be used when required to help clear the waiting lists backlog which is only getting worse under Humza Yousaf.

“I raised this issue and possible solution with the Cabinet Secretary for Health earlier this year and he told me at the time he would keep me updated on progress but nothing has happened except the waiting lists have got even longer.

“I have had people make contact with my office to say that they are scraping money together to pay for a private operation because they simply cannot wait any longer. Worse still, there are people who don’t have the funds to scrape together and are waiting in pain for an operation they need now.

“This is an absolute disaster and needs to be addressed now. I urge Humza Yousaf to work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to use the space available at the Vale of Leven to help clear this backlog.”

Meanwhile,  Jackie Baillie has warned the NHS is “at breaking point” as delayed discharges locally continue to soar while the most recent figures show less than two thirds of people at the A&E unit local to Dumbarton, Alexandria, Helensburgh and Lomond were seen within the four-hour target time.

The high number of people waiting to be discharged continues to pile pressure on hospitals and risks worsening capacity issues which have also led to cancelled procedures.

The number of delayed discharges across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has failed to fall below 300 since last December, peaking at 378 in March which was higher than any stats recorded during the height of the Covid pandemic.

This has a direct impact on bed availability and emergency departments. In the week ending October 2nd, just 58 percent of people who attended at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley were seen within four hours.

Shockingly, 163 people had to wait over eight hours and 33 were waiting for more than 12 hours at the Paisley emergency department where Jackie Baillie’s constituents attend. The national picture for these waits is the worst ever on record.

Jackie Baillie said: “Humza Yousaf, left, has shown himself thoroughly incapable of this challenge and now the NHS is in deadly freefall due to his incompetence.

“People in my constituency and across Scotland cannot continue to be let down by this incompetent government, and neither can our hardworking NHS staff. 

“The impact of delayed discharge which the SNP said they would eradicate is having a direct effect on cancelled operations and ultimately our A&E. This vicious cycle cannot continue.

“Years of SNP cuts and neglect have left our NHS unprepared for the level of demand it now faces. It is at breaking point.

“With industrial action looming we are facing a humanitarian crisis in the NHS this winter.

“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to put her failing Health Secretary into special measures and get to grips with this crisis.”


NHS Performs – weekly update of emergency department activity and waiting time statistics  

During week ending 02 October 2022:

  • There were 1076 attendances at the A&E unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
  • 58 percent of ED attendances were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours. 
  • 163 patients spent more than eight hours in the Emergency Department. 
  • 33 patients spent more than 12 hours in the Emergency Department.


Delayed discharges, August 2022:

  • In August 2022, the average number of beds occupied per day due to delayed discharges was 1,798. This is similar to July 2022 when the daily average was 1,806, which was the highest figure since the current guidance came into place in July 2016.


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