Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has raised serious concerns as new IDS figures shows the NHS in Scotland to be in crisis, prior to the Covid-19 crisis. Baillie has said that these figures further highlight the urgent need for a robust, long term NHS recovery plan to be put in place. The problems that the health service had previously, despite the hard work of the staff, have only been made worse by the strain of the pandemic.
The new statistics show that less than 70% of patients seen between January and March 2020 were treated within the 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee. The figures reveal that 20,444 people, accounting for 31.3% of the patients seen, had waited longer than the 12-week time limit for an inpatient or day case procedure.
Figures from Public Health Scotland also reveal that at 31 March, just two weeks after the NHS was put on an emergency footing, 79,973 people were still on the waiting list for a procedure and as many as 35.6% had already been waiting over 12 weeks. For the same period, in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, there were 22,765 still on the waiting list and over 40% of these patients had been waiting for 12 weeks or more.
These figures are typical for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with 41% of patients in December 2019 having been on the procedure waiting list for 12 weeks or more, 42% in January 2020, and just over 40% in February 2020 – all before emergency Covid-19 measures were introduced.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“These figures are deeply concerning as standalone statistics. But when you consider that these figures highlight deep failings in our health service prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, they become cause for grave concern for the future capabilities of our NHS.
“It is utterly unacceptable the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has consistently left huge numbers of individuals waiting for 12 weeks or more for procedures. If this is the way patients were being treated before we were plunged into a significant public health crisis, I can’t see how the Health Board will be able to make any substantive improvements for the foreseeable future.
“The Scottish Government must urgently provide all health boards with a long-term recovery plan which will not only support patients and workers as we navigate the current crisis, but will also tackle more long term, systematic failings too.”