By Lucy Ashton

 Two years on from the SNP launching their so-called ‘NHS Recovery Plan’ and the very existence of our health service is on the line, Scottish Labour has said.

Scottish Labour analysis has revealed that little progress has been made in delivering the SNP’s Recovery Plan, and that their inaction has left our NHS in disarray.

Audit Scotland’s latest report on the NHS was damning in its verdict on the Recovery Plan, stating that “progress has been slow”. More worryingly, it revealed that the Scottish Government did not fully engage with NHS boards in preparing its plan.

Analysis by Scottish Labour shows that the SNP’s Recovery Plan is floundering with:

  • 779,000 Scots on an NHS waiting list – equivalent to 1 in every 7 Scots. 
  • The SNP subsequently set new targets in July 2022 for tackling long waits for planned care, none of which have been met.   
  • SNP flagship National Treatment Centres are delayed and therefore unlikely to deliver the promised additional capacity and staff by 2026. Scottish Labour FOIs previously revealed that officials advised Humza Yousaf back in February 2023 against citing figures on the additional capacity that NTCs would deliver as “projections included in the NHS Recovery Plan have dropped significantly”.
  • Over 241,000 patients have endured long waits of over 8 hours in A&E to be seen and then admitted, transferred or discharged since the Recovery Plan was published. Over 93,000 of these waits have been over 12 hours.
  • Over one million hospital bed days have been lost to delayed discharge since the Recovery Plan was published.
  • Cancer treatment targets badly missed, as performance keeps falling to new lows. Both the 31 and 62-day standards have been missed in the last three consecutive quarters. 
  • Scotland is in the grip of a mental health crisis and services across the board are struggling to cope, whilst the SNP have failed to start recruiting the promised additional 1,000 mental health roles.
  • Primary care is at breaking point as GPs face a perfect storm of increased demand and reduced funding. The BMA estimate that we are currently 1,000 GPs short, with GP numbers now lower than they were in 2013 despite patient numbers soaring. The SNP has committed to delivering 800 new GPs by 2026, but Audit Scotland reported that they are not on track to deliver this commitment.
  • Scotland’s NHS is facing a crippling workforce crisis with 5,500 nursing and midwifery posts lying vacant and £567 million being spent on bank and agency staff in 2022/23 alone.

Despite categorically failing to bolster our NHS, former Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been rewarded for his failure with his new position of First Minister.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie and Health Secretary Michael Matheson.

The situation remains bleak under Mr Yousaf’s successor, Michael Matheson, as the number of people waiting over eight hours in our A&E departments has doubled in only three weeks during the usual lull of Summer.

Today, Scottish Labour is warning that the very existence of our NHS is on the line under the SNP, and that only Scottish Labour has the vision and desire to save our NHS.

Commenting, Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “The facts are clear for all to see – two years on from Humza Yousaf pledging to save our NHSthe system remains in disarray with Scots paying the price.

“Target after target has been missed under the SNP’s watch while waiting lists have soared and the workforce crisis has only worsened.

“NHS staff are working tirelessly to serve the people of Scotland but while they work day in and day out this SNP government is risking the very existence of our NHS.

“With more and more Scots being forced to go private due to SNP inaction, it is clear that the future of our NHS is at risk under the SNP.

“Scottish Labour has set out proposals to drive down long waits and ensure our health service is fit for the future – in contrast to the SNP we will always listen to frontline workers and defend our NHS so it is there for patients when they need it.” 

The targets are to treat those patients waiting longer than:

  • two year waits for outpatients in most specialties by the end of August 2022 – FAILED with over 800 still waiting.
  • eighteen months for outpatients in most specialties by the end of December 2022 – FAILED with over 4,500 still waiting.
  • one year for outpatients in most specialties by the end of March 2023 – FAILED with over 31,000 still waiting.
  • two years for inpatient / day cases in most specialties by the end of September 2022 – FAILED with over 6,900 still waiting.
  • eighteen months for inpatient / day cases in most specialties by the end of September 2023 – LIKELY FAILED with over 17,000 still waiting.
  • one year for inpatient / day cases in most specialties by the end of September 2024.

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