Scottish Labour has today accused the SNP of failing to strengthen NHS cancer services as the SNP government has failed to meet its promises on the hiring of radiotherapists.


In 2016, Nicola Sturgeon promised that, if elected, the SNP would deliver 100 additional radiotherapists for the NHS. However, the Scottish Government has now confirmed that they failed to ensure relevant training courses had sufficient capacity to deliver the commitment and numbers fell well short of requirements.


The result is that, almost five years later in March 2021, NHS Scotland only has 40 additional therapeutic radiographers and 18 more consultant radiologists – a total of only 58 additional posts since the election promise was made.


A report from the Royal College of Radiologists earlier this year also revealed that Scotland currently has only 9.1 clinical radiologists per 100,000 people – far below the European average of 12.8 per 100,000.


With Scotland now facing a ticking time-bomb in delayed cancer care, Scottish Labour has said that this SNP broken promise has left our NHS under-prepared and under-resourced at a critical time.


Commenting, Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:  


“This is yet another broken promise from the SNP, a party that we simply can’t trust to protect our NHS.


“Scotland is trailing behind the majority of Europe when it comes to the numbers of radiologists we have, but we can have no trust in the SNP to fix this.


“Our NHS is in the midst of a cancer care crisis but years of SNP failure has left it unprepared to meet the challenge it now faces.


“Even before Covid-19 there were warnings of workforce shortages and staff burnout across the NHS which the SNP has failed to act upon.


“We cannot rely on the SNP to protect and strengthen our NHS. Only Labour will fight for the resources, staffing and recovery plan that the NHS needs.”


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