Patients in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh need a Health Secretary who will face up to the job of tackling growing NHS waiting lists.
That was the message from local MSP Jackie Baillie during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on a damning Audit Scotland report on the state of the NHS.
SNP Ministers sat in silence as Jackie Baillie MSP read out the names of nine local constituents who had been forced to wait months for orthopaedic surgery. This included two patients who had to wait longer than a year in pain for knee operations.
The patients come from across Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond and each of them gave the Scottish Labour MSP permission to raise their cases in Parliament. Jackie Baillie said that the nine patients were only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and their stories helped illustrate the real human suffering behind the statistics.
Under the so-called Treatment Time Guarantee, patients are promised that they will receive treatment within 12 weeks but nearly 4000 patients in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are waiting longer.
A GP Medical Practice in the Vale of Leven has also contacted Jackie Baillie to express their concerns about waiting times for emergency breast cancer referrals in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The doctors said that some women currently face waiting times of up to eight weeks before they receive treatment for cancer.
Jackie Baillie also raised the review of GP out-of-hours which is considering cuts to services at the Vale of Leven Hospital. She told MSPs that the health board is ploughing ahead with the review without consulting patients despite the Health Secretary’s promises of ‘extensive engagement with the community’.
“The damning Audit Scotland report has revealed the scale of the SNP’s mismanagement of our NHS.
“Our NHS staff feel undervalued and are working under immense pressure, agency spending on doctors and nurses is spiralling out of control, our ambulance service is struggling, significant health inequalities remain and health boards are being forced to make huge cuts year on year.
“The growing waiting lists in our NHS mean that thousands of patients have to wait up to a year in pain for knee and hip operations. Shona Robison’s treatment time guarantee is utterly worthless to them. The stories of local patients I shared in the Scottish Parliament highlight the real human suffering behind the statistics.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg. For every local patient who contacts my office to seek assistance, there are dozens more in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh who are stuck on waiting lists with no idea when they will get an appointment