Over 400,000 operations lost since Covid shows need for new NHS Recovery Plan 

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on the Health Secretary to devise a new NHS Recovery Plan because “continuity won’t cut it”.

His appeal came after new Liberal Democrat analysis revealed that 401,992 operations have been lost since the pandemic first began.

Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis of Public Health Scotland figures has compared average pre-Covid levels of NHS activity with the number of operations scheduled over the past two years.

The analysis also showed there was a 29% decrease between the number of operations scheduled in March and the average pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “These figures are absolutely staggering. Backlogs escalating to near uncontrollable levels have failed to prompt any urgent action from the Health Secretary. It is alarming to think what must happen for him to act.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Jackie Baillie and Michael Matheson.

“Humza Yousaf left our NHS on its knees, so continuity won’t cut it- it’s insulting to pretend it will. Patients and NHS staff deserve better than half-hearted Government commitments to tackle the crisis.

“If there is any chance for the tide to be turned, this new government must scrap the current Recovery Plan and urgently devise a new one which will prioritise the recruitment and retention of staff through a burnout prevention strategy and a staff and social care assembly.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the embargoed RCN Scotland report on workforce, Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Today’s report must be a clarion call for action to support Scotland’s nurses and to tackle the workforce crisis.

“Nurses are the foundation upon which our NHS is built, but the fact is that this SNP government is failing to support the workforce with vacancies and departures from the NHS soaring.

“If we are to protect our NHS and the society that it serves then every effort must be made to bolster the nursing workforce and make the NHS a fulfilling and rewarding place for nurses to work.

“Michael Matheson has inherited this staffing crisis from his predecessors – but he can act now to end it.

“Today I call on Michael Matheson to listen to the RCN, to other nursing unions, to experts and to staff to deliver the workforce plan that we need.”

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