Jeane Freeman was brought in by the First Minister as Health Secretary in a bid to reverse the decline in the health service brought about under Shona Robison. But a year on, performance in the NHS has failed to improve.
The most recent performance report for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) shows that they are failing to meet their performance targets in 10 key areas, including GP Out of Hours, a service which has experienced extensive problems at the Vale of Leven Hospital for more than a year.
In A&E, NHS GGC missed their 95% target by more than 7% and their performance declined from 92.8% last year to 87.9% this year.
In delayed discharge, health boards have a target of 0 patients delayed. In NHS GGC 211 patients were delayed across the board area this year, up from last year when the figure was 202 patients.
The health board also missed their target of having 80% of patients admitted for treatment within 18 weeks, to date just 77.7% of patients were admitted, down on last year’s figure of 88.6%.
For key diagnostic tests, 3630 patients have waited longer than 6 weeks, again the health board missed their target of 1800. The health board are also expected to treat 80% of patients suspected of having cancer within 62 days, so far this year they have missed this target by almost 5%. The health board also missed their target on MSSA and MRSA, Freedom of Information Requests and Sickness Absence.
In addition, the performance paper also highlights that between January and May 2019 there have been 222 closures of Out of Hours Services across the board area. We already know that almost 50 closures were experienced at the Vale of Leven Hospital alone between January and April this year. While there is no official target for GP Out of Hours, the health board have committed to review the service for the remainder of 2019/20.
“Despite Jeane Freeman being brought in to reverse the declining performance of our health service, health boards are achieving worsening performance.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde continues to fail to meet it’s performance targets with more and more patients waiting longer in A&E, experiencing delayed discharge or waiting longer for treatment.
“In addition, our GP Out of Hours service has suffered severe decline with more and more closures each year meaning patients are having to travel even further for the most basic treatment.
“It’s time that this Scottish Government replaced their warm words with action to improve the health service across the board.”