By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour has warned that chaos in the SNP’s infrastructure plan could prolong the crisis in our NHS as the report casts doubt on new National Treatment Centres.
The SNP’s pledge to increase NHS capacity with a network of National Treatment Centres across Scotland was a key plank of their plan to rebuild Scotland’s chaos-stricken NHS and drive down record waiting lists – but they has been beset by delays and uncertainty.
The programme has been dealt a fresh blow as an explosive new report by the Auditor General revealed that “the Scottish Government will no longer be able to deliver all its planned infrastructure investment”.
The scathing report identifies National Treatment Centres as one of the projects that could be hit hard, highlighting delays and cost overruns and casting doubt on whether all the centres will be delivered.
On the six centres still waiting for business case approval, Audit Scotland warned that “it is not clear whether these projects will go ahead and if they do, what the impact on cost will be”.
The report highlights the risk of this chaos for patients, acknowledging that “National treatment centres were integral to the NHS Covid-19 recovery plan, but some of these projects have been delayed. This could affect the NHS’s recovery from the pandemic and its ability to reform”.
Scottish Labour called on the SNP to give a cast-iron commitment that all National Treatment Centres will go ahead as planned or set out how the SNP plan to reduce long waits without them.
NHS waiting lists are at a record high, with most recent figures showing that more than 13,000 people have been waiting more than a year for orthopaedic surgery.
Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie, left, said “The SNP’s disastrous incompetence has left one in seven Scots languishing on NHS waiting lists, with record numbers of people stuck in limbo and in pain.
“The SNP promised these National Treatment Centres to get the NHS back on track, but this damning report casts doubt over whether they will ever be delivered.
“If the SNP break this promise it will be the final death knell to their failed NHS Recovery Plan and an admission that they have no strategy to reduce waiting lists.
“The Health Secretary must give a cast-iron commitment that this pledge will be delivered in full as urgently as possible or explain to patients and staff how the SNP now plan to end the long waits patients are facing.”