Few would disagree that the NHS in Scotland is facing its greatest crisis in living memory.
The problems afflicting the NHS are most acute in A&E services. New statistics have revealed that last year some 6362 people waited more than 24 hours in A&E – in 2019 that number was just 48 – and some waited even longer. 1356 people waited more than 36 hours in A&E and 390 people waited more than 48 hours – two whole days. Staff are burnt out and A&E doctors have confirmed that patients’ lives are at risk due to these exceedingly long waits.
But this is only A&E. People are also experiencing longer waiting times for ambulances, the number of patients waiting for non-urgent, planned operations has risen to record highs and cancer care targets are also routinely being missed. In fact, Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland has confirmed that cancer waiting times have been getting worse for years.
Dedicated NHS staff are exhausted and demoralised. The way they have been treated has contributed to the worrying prospect of nurses, and now junior doctors, going on strike.
Our NHS, our patients and our staff deserve so much better than this. Residents here in East Lothian and across Scotland should not have to continue to accept the unacceptable from this SNP-Green Government.
Sadly, SNP Ministers do not see it this way. Just a few weeks ago Nicola Sturgeon insisted her under-fire Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is doing a “very good job” despite his clear failure to get to grips with the various serious difficulties facing the NHS.
It is beyond time for Mr Yousaf to go and for someone else to be entrusted with the task of delivering desperately needed improvements for patients and rebuilding trust with staff.
Scotland needs an NHS that works for patients and staff, and we need a Health Secretary capable of delivering it.