Conservative spokesman Craig Hoy and SNP health secretary Humza Yousaf.
By Lucy Ashton
The Scottish Conservatives have accused SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf of “leaving vulnerable patients to suffer” by failing to properly resource local authority care services.
Freedom of Information requests from the party have uncovered “disgraceful” new statistics that reveal the length of time patients are having to wait for care packages to be put in place – in one case almost five years.
And the waiting doesn’t even start there. The figures, which go back as far as 2017, also show “shocking” waiting times for care assessments to be undertaken.
Shadow minister for social care Craig Hoy has once again urged the SNP to drop their “reckless and illogical” plan for a centralised National Care Service and instead put every penny into resourcing local care services.
The figures show the extent of the problems vulnerable patients across Scotland face accessing care.
In Edinburgh this year, a social care user had been waiting a total of 1,775 days – almost five years – before getting a care package, while in Argyll and Bute, which includes Cardross, Helensburgh and Garelochside north, a patient waited 1,071 days to get a suitable package in 2021.
Meanwhile, in Fife patients waited more than 1,000 days for a care package three years running from 2019, while patients in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway have currently been waiting 685 days and 595 days respectively.
In terms of care assessments, a patient in Moray waited 928 days before finally being assessed this year, while another Moray-based patient has been waiting 955 days to be assessed.
Craig Hoy added that Humza Yousaf cannot hide behind the pandemic as an excuse for these “overwhelming failures” and that local authorities have been getting a “raw deal” for far too long from the SNP, as they try to support vulnerable people.
Shadow social care minister Craig Hoy MSP, said: “Social care services across Scotland are in crisis on Humza Yousaf’s watch.
“These disgraceful and shocking new statistics uncovered by the Scottish Conservatives show how the SNP health secretary is leaving vulnerable patients to suffer.
“Humza Yousaf and successive SNP ministers responsible for Scotland’s social care services have been handing a raw deal to local authorities and care providers for far too long.
“They cannot hide behind the pandemic as an excuse for the pressure local authorities are under.
“It is utterly shameful that patients are waiting years for appropriate care packages to be put in place or even to be assessed for the care support they require.
“These overwhelming failures should finally make the SNP government do the right thing and drop their illogical and reckless plans to centralise care provision through their National Care Service.
“That will only take further resources away from local care providers, who understand patients’ needs and are best placed to deliver them.
“SNP ministers cannot continue to press ahead with these plans and should respond to these findings from the Scottish Conservatives by finally U-turning and ditching their National Care Service.”