By Bill Heaney
The Scottish Conservatives have accused Humza Yousaf of presiding over ‘500 days of failure’, as they repeated calls for his resignation.
Since the SNP Health Secretary took office in May 2021, a new record low for the percentage of A&E patients waiting more than four hours has been set 14 times.
But further analysis of the figures shows that – on the three different metrics used (4, 8 and 12 hour) – record-worst A&E waiting-time stats have been set an astonishing 68 times. That’s once every eight days of Humza Yousaf’s time in post.
The Scottish Government’s own target for A&E waits is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours, yet for the last five weeks under 95% of emergency patients have been seen within even 12 hours.
The Health Secretary’s other record worsts include:
- Cancer waiting times – which fell to their worst ever levels earlier this year, with one in four patients waiting more than 62 days for treatment after an urgent referral.
- Delayed discharge – which hit the highest level on record last month, with an average of 1,832 beds occupied each day due to delayed discharges.
- NHS backlogs – almost 700,000 patients were waiting for NHS treatment according to the latest figures, the highest number since statistics were recorded in their current form.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, Dr Sandesh Gulhane
Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, Dr Sandesh Gulhane said:“Humza Yousaf’s stint as Health Secretary has been record-breaking for all the wrong reasons.
“The Health Secretary’s dire mismanagement has brought our precious NHS to its knees. Cancer treatment waits are reaching dangerous levels, delayed discharge is getting worse and backlogs are spiralling out of control.
“A&E waiting times alone have broken new records almost once a week on average since he came to office. That’s an astonishing – and shameful – statistic.
“Humza Yousaf has presided over 500 days of failure – and now he has lost the trust of frontline staff as Scotland’s nurses have voted to go on strike for the first time ever.
“Enough is enough. People have suffered and some have died needlessly as a result of his incompetence, and Nicola Sturgeon can no longer stand by and watch this crisis unfold.
“If the Health Secretary won’t do the decent thing and resign, it’s time for him to be sacked.
Humza Yousaf has presided over 68 record worst weekly A&E figures in his time as health secretary. In his tenure as health secretary, Humza Yousaf has presided over the worst ever waiting times across the 4, 8 and 12 hour waiting time categories 68 times. (NHS Performs – weekly update of emergency department activity and waiting time statistics, 8 November 2022, link).
Humza Yousaf has presided over 35 record percentage lows in A & E in his time as health secretary. In his tenure as health secretary, Humza Yousaf has presided over the lowest percentage of patients being seen within 4 hours 14 times; the lowest percentage of patients being seen withing 8 hours 12 times and the lowest percentage of patients being seen within 12 hours 9 times. (NHS Performs – weekly update of emergency department activity and waiting time statistics, 8 November 2022, link).
Humza Yousaf has presided over a record high number of patients waiting at A & E 33 times. In his tenure as health secretary, Humza Yousaf has presided over the highest number of patients waiting over 4 hours 10 times, highest number waiting over 8 hours 12 times and the highest number waiting over 12 hours 11 times. (NHS Performs – weekly update of emergency department activity and waiting time statistics, 8 November 2022, link).
Last month, delayed discharge reached a record high. The most recent statistics reveal that in September 2022, the average number of beds occupied per day due to delayed discharges was 1,832, the highest figure since the current guidance came into place. Since Yousaf was appointed, there have been 1,974 years’ worth of occupied delayed bed days (720,552 days). (Delayed discharges in NHS Scotland monthly, 1 November 2022, link).
Cancer waiting times fell to their worst level on record in April-June this year. In the quarter ending 30 September 2021, 83.3% of patients begun treatment within 62 days of urgent referral. But in the most recent quarter, 76.3% of patients begun treatment within 62 days of urgent referral, the worst statistics on record. (Cancer waiting times, 27 September 2022, link).
590,604 people were waiting for outpatients or inpatients treatment at the end of June 2022, the highest number since records were collected in their current form. This is an increase of over 37,000 patients on the previous quarter, which was also the highest on record at the time of release. (NHS waiting times – stage of treatment, 6 September 2022, link; BBC News, 31 May 2022, link)
Top picture: Ambulances queueing up at the doors of the RAH, which serves West Dunbartonshire.