NO-DEAL TORY BREXIT WOULD BE 'CATASTROPHIC' FOR NHS - BMA

17 August 2018

A no-deal Tory Brexit would be “catastrophic” for our NHS, the BMA has warned.

The leading medical association has outlined serious concerns about staffing, reciprocal healthcare and the supply of medicines if Theresa May fails to strike a deal.

In a bombshell report, the BMA state:

Delays for diagnosis and treatment with the UK out of EURATOM.

Major disruption caused for almost one million patients receiving treatment for rare diseases as the UK would be excluded from the European Rare Disease Network.

No reciprocal healthcare agreements could see 190,000 UK state pensioners who live in the EU return home for treatment costing between £500 million and £1 billion per year.

Fewer medical staff able to be recruited into the NHS from EU already during a staffing crisis.

It’s clear that a Tory no-deal Brexit would damage our NHS, our economy and our country.

Labour has been clear that we will guarantee the rights and status of existing EU and EEA nationals, but we will also ensure our NHS and care sector can recruit the staff needed to care for our sick and elderly now and in the future.

Only a Brexit deal that meets Labour’s six key tests will protect our NHS, the Tories simply can’t be trusted to safeguard our health service.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“Theresa May’s mantra that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ looks increasingly out of touch with reality.

“This report by our leading medical association makes clear that a no-deal Tory Brexit will damage our NHS, damage patIent care and cost our health service money.

“It’s time for the Tories to take Britain back from the cliff edge and start working towards a deal that protects our country, not a disorderly exit which will clearly harm it.

“This is why Labour has set out six key tests which would ensure any Brexit deal protects workers’ rights, gives the UK the same benefits we enjoy as members of the Single Market and allows for a migration system which works in the interests of the economy.

“Labour created the NHS and only Labour can be trusted to give our health service a brighter future.”




A&E TARGET MISSED FOR 11 MONTHS


7 August 2018



The SNP’s A&E waiting time standard has been missed for 11 months in a row.

Official figures published today show 95 per cent of patients have not been admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours from Emergency Departments across Scotland at any point since July 2017.

Meanwhile the figures also show that 42,375 bed days were lost in June this year to delayed discharge – an increase of eight per cent compared to the same month in 2017.

That means 248,246 bed days have been lost to delayed discharge so far in 2018.

The figures, provided by ISD Scotland, also show that so far in 2018 more than a quarter of cancelled operations were scrapped due to capacity or non-clinical reasons.

Scottish Labour said the figures showed the scale of the challenge for new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP – and urged the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in our health service.

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“For almost a year, thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“That is unacceptable – and so is the huge increase in bed blocking due to delayed discharge, up eight per cent on last year, meaning there are already almost 250,000 bed days lost since the start of 2018.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“It is now clear new SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman MSP faces a monumental challenge if she is to even start undoing some of the failings of her predecessors.

“A good place to start would be to follow Labour’s lead and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to properly fund our NHS to ensure it works for the many, not the few.”




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND


9 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."




DRIVE FOR EQUALITY WILL MAKE THE NHS FIT FOR NEXT 70 YEARS

7 July 2018

Labour has said that tackling health inequalities is the key to ensure the NHS is fit for the next 70 years.

To mark the 70th birthday of the health service the party has announced that a Scottish Labour government will assess every policy for their impact on health inequalities.

These ‘health inequality assessments’ would extend to all government decisions from its budget, to policies in areas such as housing, transport, education and justice.

Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said:

“Labour founded our NHS, based on need not ability to pay. The health service is our proudest achievement, socialism in action and Labour will always fight for it.

“On our health service’s 70th birthday, only Labour has a plan to ensure it is fit for the next 70 years. The sticking plaster solutions of the Tories and the SNP will only go so far – we need real and radical change in our society to take the pressure off of our hospitals.

“Right now in Scotland, life expectancy and quality of life has as much to do with the privilege of the postcode you are born into as anything else.

“The next Scottish Labour government will ensure a ‘health inequality assessment’ of every policy. That doesn’t just mean our health and social care policies, but all across government from our budget to housing, transport, justice and education.

“The fundamental reform our health service needs isn’t service closures – it is changing our society to work for the many, not the few.”




SARWAR OUTLINES 10 POINT ‘PRESCRIPTION’ FOR THE NHS

7 July 2018

Scottish Labour has revealed a 10-point prescription plan to ensure the National Health Service is fit for the future.

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday this week, but services and staff are under immense strain after years of underfunding.

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, has today [Saturday] put forward plans that will ensure the NHS cannot just survive but thrive for the next 70 years.

The plans include using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to give the health service a cash boost and ensure every school in Scotland has access to a mental health counsellor.

Labour built the NHS in 1948 and it is only Labour in 2018 that is putting forward radical plans to ensure our grandchildren have a health service that is there for the many, not just the few.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The creation of the NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement in government. “We have had events across Scotland celebrating its 70th birthday, but we have to be honest and admit that it is a service under immense pressure and our NHS staff are overworked, undervalued and under-resourced.

“We have been exposing a decade of mismanagement by the SNP government, but we have also been developing plans outlining what we would do differently to make it fit for the next 70 years.

“Labour’s 10-point prescription plan would transform our NHS and ensure it is there for everyone who needs it.

“Our plan would deliver more resources, a stronger workforce and take head on the challenges of cancer, mental health and social care.

“It would mean a generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services. It will mean a diagnosis within 2 weeks if your GP suspects you have a cancer and dignity in retirement with a proper social care package.

“Labour built the NHS and it is only Labour that has a radical and bold plan to ensure it is fit for the future.”


Labour’s 10-point prescription for the NHS

1. Use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to deliver more money for our NHS.

2. A health inequality assessment of every government policy to ensure a positive impact on health outcomes.

3. A credible and deliverable workforce plan. Reverse cuts to training places made by Nicola Sturgeon and delivering a meaningful pay increase and a return to collective bargaining.

4. A generational shift in mental health services with access to a mental health counsellor for every school and crisis mental health services.

5. Protection of local NHS services to stop threats to paediatric, maternity and Out of Hour services.

6. Taking the fight against Scotland’s biggest killer head on with a cancer diagnosis within 2 weeks.

7. Access to vital lifesaving medicines, so patients don’t have to share their intimate stories on the front pages of newspapers or by protesting outside Parliament in order to get the medicines they need.

8. Adequately fund local government so we can end cuts to social care budgets and the scandal of 15 minute care visits.

9. Access to free sport and a bold obesity strategy so we can prioritise prevention and promote good health and wellbeing.

10. Impose a cap on what private agencies can charge for a single shift so that we can reduce agency spending which has skyrocketed under this Government.






Comment on Drug-related Deaths

4 July 2018

Commenting on new figures showing drug-related deaths in Scotland have reached record levels, Scottish Labour's Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"Scotland's drug strategy has failed.

"These are absolutely shocking figures that should be a wake-up call for the SNP government.

“The fact that drugs deaths in Scotland are two and half times the rate of the rest of the UK is particularly troubling – as is the more than 200 per cent rise in the number of women dying from drug-related causes.

“Lives have been ruined and families left to cope with grief and trauma for years to come.

"The SNP government has slashed alcohol and drug partnership funding at a time when drug deaths were hitting record levels.

"SNP ministers need to give themselves a shake and take responsibility for their actions. If you underfund vital substance misuse services people die.

"I urge the SNP Government to have the courage to take a different course to ensure this shameful record is reversed."




SNP DELAYED DISCHARGE FAILURE COST NHS £440 MILLION UNDER STURGEON

4 July 2018

The SNP government’s failure to abolish delayed discharges in the NHS has cost the health service £440 million since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, Labour has revealed.

Former SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison vowed to eliminate delayed discharges from the health service in 2015, but the only thing that has been axed since is herself.

Figures released from ISD Scotland show a total of 43,244 bed days were lost in May, meaning 205,871 have been lost so far in 2018 .

Nicola Sturgeon’s new Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must get to grips with this problem immediately, or patients will continue to suffer unnecessary stays in hospital.

Labour said years of SNP cuts to local council budgets has put social care services under significant strain leaving many hospital patients unable to access the services needed to return home.

Labour founded the National Health Service 70 years ago and the party will always fight to secure its future.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“The SNP government’s broken promise is costing Scotland millions of pounds each year, and putting an intolerable strain on NHS wards.

“Hundreds of patients each month are languishing unnecessarily in hospital beds.

“Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of the SNP government’s £1.5 billion cut to council budgets.

“Labour’s would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday it is only Labour - the party that founded the health service - that has a sustainable plan for its future.




ALMOST 500 OPERATIONS CANCELLED IN MAY

4 July 2018

Almost 500 planned operations were cancelled in May because hospitals couldn’t cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 489 operations were cancelled due to issues with capacity in May.

This means 4,236 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018 due to a lack of capacity in the NHS – meaning an average of 28 cancelled operations each day this year solely because the NHS couldn’t cope.

Scottish Labour said thousands of patients are being badly let down by the SNP government and the new Health Secretary must break from the decade of mismanagement.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Thousands of operations have been cancelled so far this year because our NHS couldn’t cope, leaving staff frustrated and patients in discomfort and pain.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday our health service is seriously struggling to cope with a staffing crisis created by the SNP government.

“Each of these cancelled operation leaves a patient waiting for vital treatment that hospitals have not been able to give because staff are overworked and undervalued.

“The new Health Secretary must quickly give our NHS the support it needs or she will end up dumped out of office like her predecessor.

“Only the Labour Party will use the powers of the parliament to fund our NHS to ensure Scotland has a health service that it fit for the future.”




A&E WAITING TIME TARGET MISSED FOR NINTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

4 July 2018

Scotland’s monthly interim A&E waiting time target has been missed for the ninth consecutive month, new figures show.

The SNP has an interim target of 95 per cent of patients admitted, transferred of discharged within four hours of arriving at A&E.

New figures from ISD Scotland show just 93 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

Labour said it is time for the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to fund our NHS properly.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“For nine long months thousands of patients across Scotland have had to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E wards.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of fixing our the NHS.

“These successive missed targets are down to years of mismanagement of our most important public service by the SNP Government.

“This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Labour Party creating the NHS, only the Labour party will use the powers of the parliament to properly fund our NHS for the future and ensure we have a health services that works for the many, not the few.”




REVEALED: HUGE COST OF LOCUM GPS

3 July 2018

The huge cost of the SNP GP crisis has been revealed today, with freedom of information requests exposing some health boards are paying up to £1,400 a day for cover.

Freedom of information responses released to Scottish Labour has revealed GPs charged as much as £1,400 per day for cover in Orkney in 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available.

The problem is not contained to rural Scotland and the Islands however, with charges in NHS Lanarkshire as high as £1,132 per day and £885 per day in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Two of the biggest health boards in the country – Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Lothians, were unable to provide the information.

However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde does admit that out of hours locums are able to charge over £100 an hour.

Labour released the figure as part of a week spent campaigning on the health service, ahead of the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said:

“The NHS is our most valued public service and Labour’s proudest achievement.

“It is utterly shocking that the SNP GP crisis has created a situation where locum costs are over a thousand pounds a day.

“The reality is the SNP has underfunded primary care for over a decade and as a result family doctors are left over stretched, overworked and under too much pressure.




MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG FOR CANCER TREATMENT IN SNP SCOTLAND

2 July 2018

More than seven thousand people have waited too long for cancer treatment under the SNP since 2011, Scottish Labour can reveal.

An analysis by the party of ISD Scotland figures shows 7,220 patients had to wait more than 62 days between being urgently referred for cancer treatment and that treatment actually starting over the last seven years.

The figures also show the problem is growing, having increased by 285 per cent between 2011/12 and 2017/18.

The analysis comes after a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times, leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour revealed the analysis ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS as part of a week that will shine a light on how the SNP is failing our health service - and outline what Labour would do differently to make our NHS fit for the future.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes - instead the SNP government is failing patients across Scotland.

“Even one person having to wait too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“The SNP's legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance – and new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman faces a mammoth task to give patients the treatment they deserve.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."





SNP PERFORMANCE ON CANCER WAITING TIMES A 'NATIONAL SCANDAL'

26 June 2018

Scottish Labour has accused the SNP of failing cancer patients after new figures showed declining performance in cancer waiting times with hundreds of patients missing the government’s key waiting time targets.

Official statistics show more than 500 people suspected of having cancer had to wait longer than 62 days from referral to treatment in the first three months of 2018 alone.

The target is that 95 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer should wait a maximum of 62 days from referral to first cancer treatment.

However, performance was 10 per cent below that target - at 85.0 per cent. That is a drop from the 87.1 per cent in the previous quarter and 88.1 per cent at the same period last year.

The figures also reveal 382 people had to wait longer than the 31-day standard for treatment to begin after doctors decided to treat them.

Performance saw 93.5 per cent starting treatment within the 31-day standard, which is a decrease from 94.6 per cent last quarter and 94.9 per cent at the same point in 2017.

The figures follow a controversial move from the SNP government to review cancer waiting times leading to a proposal for different standards – namely different waiting times for different cancer types.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer and swift treatment can have a dramatic effect on outcomes, but instead the SNP government is continually failing patients across Scotland.

“Having one person waiting too long for treatment for cancer is one too many – having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.

“The reality is the SNP has left our NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced. Health Secretary Shona Robison’s legacy at health is one of horrendous mismanagement and then total denial over performance.

“Labour will deliver the support our NHS needs and cut waiting times so that if your GP suspects cancer under Labour you see a specialist and get results within a fortnight."






Comment on BMA survey

26 June 2018

Commenting on a BMA survey showing two thirds of doctors believe inadequate resources are significantly affecting the quality and safety of care provided by the NHS, Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

"These are deeply troubling reports that once again show just how badly the SNP has mismanaged our NHS.

"As doctors say themselves, the SNP has left our health service staff overworked, under-staffed and under-resourced - and it is patients who are paying the price.

"It is increasingly clear that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is out of her depth and out of time, with the SNP government presiding over a recruitment crisis in our health service.

"Scottish Labour has already launched an NHS workforce commission to find solutions to the SNP's workforce crisis in our health service - and we would end SNP and Tory austerity and invest in our health service so our doctors and nurses get the support they need."




SNP GOVERNMENT UNDERSPENDS NEARLY HALF A BILLION POUNDS WHILST CUTTING SERVICES

21 June 2018

The SNP government has underspent almost half a billion pounds last year whilst inflicting brutal austerity cuts across the country, new figures show.

SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has today [Thursday] admitted that he has set aside £453m of funds as an ‘underspend’. This is money that should be used to support our public services.

Instead of funding these vital services, the SNP government has opted to cut council budgets by £1.5 billion since 2011.

Scottish Labour is calling on Mr Mackay to apologise to workers facing the axe whilst he sits on millions of pounds in St. Andrew’s House.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance James Kelly said:

“Labour will always fight to protect Scotland’s vital public services.

“The news that SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay underspent almost half a billion pounds whilst cutting council budgets by £1.5 billion.

“Money is piling up in his slush fund for his annual bribe to win Green votes to get his budgets passed.

“This is simply a gross mismanagement of Scottish finances by a Finance Secretary that is clearly out of his depth.

"Throughout his tenure as Finance Secretary, Mr. Mackay his tinkered on tax instead of ensuring the richest pay their fair share to fund our schools, hospitals and other vital public services.

“Derek Mackay must apologise to communities across Scotland that have been damaged by his reckless actions.

“Scottish Labour will always put our public services first and will use the powers of the Parliament to end austerity.”




REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH TO IMPROVE SCOTLAND’S HEALTH – SMITH

12 June 2018

The best long term plan for improving Scotland’s health is the redistribution of wealth, Labour said today.

The party highlighted the findings from the Scottish Centre for National Research, showing:

- 62 per cent of respondents think that large gaps in incomes is unfair.

- 58 per cent of respondents would be willing to pay more tax to help the health of poorer people in Scotland.

- 72 per cent believe that people in better off areas tend to be healthier than those in worse off areas.

- 71 per cent felt that those with more money are better able to live healthier lives.

Labour said the findings supported its call to make the wealthiest pay their fair share, and use revenues to tackle poverty and inequality.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of poverty and inequality Elaine Smith said:

"It is clear that the best long term plan for improving Scotland's health is re-balancing Scotland's wealth.

"This report shows that the majority of people in Scotland accept that health inequalities in our society are driven by wealth inequalities. The top 1 per cent in Scotland own almost as much wealth as the bottom 50 per cent put together. That is unacceptable and unsustainable.

"Scotland can only be a healthier country if it is a fairer country. That is why Labour is the only party with a comprehensive range of policies to tackle poverty in our society.

"Labour would poverty-proof all government policies and fix our broken energy markets and housing systems. We would make the richest pay their fair share and redistribute that wealth to those who need it the most.

"All of these actions would reduce the strain on our NHS, which already sees overworked and undervalued staff counting the cost of the SNP and Tory government's failure to tackle poverty effectively."




Delayed discharge failure has cost £392million

7 June 2018

Delayed discharge has cost our NHS over £392 million since the SNP Health Secretary pledged to eradicate it.

The figure was revealed by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard at First Minister’s Questions today, who told Nicola Sturgeon to put patients before her party.

In 2015 Shona Robison pledged to ensure that delayed discharge - the process of a patient being stuck in hospital despite being medically cleared to leave - would be ‘eradicated’ out of the system by the end of the year.

Labour said the stark figure summed up the SNP government’s handling of the health service.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Shona Robison’s broken promises on delayed discharge has cost the health service over £392million.

“This week the government was forced to admit that it has not met its A&E waiting times target for eight consecutive months, hundreds of operations are being cancelled every single month, waiting times are up year on year, and our hardworking NHS staff are overstretched and undervalued.

“Patients deserve better than this. They deserve a Health Secretary who is up to the job.

“Nicola Sturgeon should finally put patients before her party and accept that it is time for Shona Robison to go.”




A&E WAITING TIME TARGET MISSED FOR EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

5 June 2018

Scotland’s monthly interim A&E waiting time target has been missed for the 8th consecutive month, new figures show.

The SNP has an interim target of 95 per cent of patients admitted, transferred of discharged within four hours of arriving at A&E.

New figures from ISD Scotland show just 90 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“It is disgraceful that another month passes and another target is missed and it shows our accident and emergency wards are at breaking point under the SNP.

“Our nurses and doctors do tremendous work, but the reality is they have been left overworked, understaffed and under-resourced by an SNP government that is focused on nationalism instead of the NHS.

“A&E figures show the overall condition of the NHS, these missed targets are because of years of cuts to primary and social care.

“SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has blamed everything except her own dismal performance for these successive failures. It’s time for her to step down.




WARM WORDS ON MENTAL HEALTH ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH – SARWAR

5 June 2018

Warm words from the SNP on mental health are not good enough, Labour said today, as new figures show the scale of failure on mental health services.

In child and adolescent mental health services, 1,147 young people waited more than 18 week target time for treatment in the first three months of 2018 – a jump of over 60 per cent from the 712 who waited over the target time in the same period last year.

On psychological therapy waiting times for adults, more than 3,300 patients waited longer than the SNP’s 18 week target for psychological treatment, an increase of more than 400 cases compared to the same time last year.

Labour has been pushing the SNP government to deliver better mental health services in recent months, with leader Richard Leonard raising the matter repeatedly at First Minister’s Questions.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“Warm words from the SNP government on mental health are not good enough.

“If these figures were replicated in our A&E wards there would be a national outcry. We hear plenty from ministers about parity of esteem for mental health services and acute services – but these figures show that just is not happening.

“Labour has pressed the government on these failures time and again, but the response simply has not been good enough.

“NHS patients and staff deserve better than these continued failures.”




NHS STAFFING CRISIS ‘OUT OF CONTROL’ - SARWAR

5 June 2018

- Almost 3,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS

The staffing crisis in Scotland’s health service is spiralling out of control, new figures reveal.

Data released by ISD Scotland today shows that 2,812.7 WTE nursing and midwifery posts were unfilled in our health service as of 31 March 2018.

In addition to this there are 422.5 WTE vacancies for consultants. The number of consultant vacancies remaining unfilled for six months or more has seen a 23.7 per cent (48.6 WTE) increase to 253.9 WTE in the last year.

In 2012 Nicola Sturgeon cut the intake for nursing and midwifery students by nearly 300. Labour said the figures exposed the scale of the workforce crisis the SNP had created in our health service.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The SNP’s NHS staffing crisis is spiralling of control, with a huge spike in unfilled posts for consultants and almost 3,000 vacancies in nursing and midwifery.

“These failures lie at the door of Bute House. Nicola Sturgeon cut the number of training places for nurses when she was Health Secretary in 2012.

“A recent survey of NHS staff found only around a third of staff believe there are enough of them to do their jobs properly. The result of that is patients not getting the care they need in time.

“That’s why Labour has established a workforce commission to establish a blueprint to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good.”




NEWS: OVER 500 OPERATIONS CANCELLED IN APRIL

5 June 2018

More than 580 operations were cancelled in April because hospitals could not cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 587 operations were cancelled in April – up from 490 in 2017.

This means 3,747 operations have been cancelled so far in 2018.

Scottish Labour said the figures show it is time the Health Secretary, Shona Robison, steps down before more patients are failed.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Thousands of operations have been cancelled so far this year thanks to the shambolic management of SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison.

“Our health service is seriously struggling to cope with a staffing crisis created by the SNP government.

“Each of these cancelled operation leaves a patient waiting in pain for treatment that hospitals have not been able to give because staff are overworked and undervalued.

“Shona Robison needs to take her head out of the sand. She has been unable to face up to the challenges of the portfolio. It’s time for her to do the decent thing and resign.”




NEW GP TRAINING PLACES ARE 'STICKING PLASTER SOLUTION'

1 June 2018

Commenting on the news that the SNP government is to fund just 85 new GP training places Scottish Labour's shadow cabinet spokesperson on health, Anas Sarwar, said: “Of course Scottish Labour welcomes any investment in our NHS. But the reality is that after more than a decade in power the SNPs legacy on our heath service is creating a workforce crisis.

“This is yet another sticking plaster solution by an SNP government is putting Nationalism before our National Health Service.

“The Royal College of GPs estimate that Scotland will be short of 856 GPs by 2021, this scheme will deliver at best just 85 new doctors.

“Scotland needs far more GPs to keep local surgeries open to give people the care they need.

“Our NHS is stumbling from crisis to crisis. The interim A&E waiting time target has not been met in nearly a year, experts warned this week that radiology services are ‘starting to crumble’ and it was revealed 130,000 Scots have waited longer than the SNP’s flagship legal treatment time guarantee for conditions such as knee and eye operations.

“Many of these problems have worsened under Health Secretary Shona Robison’s watch and she has lost credibility with staff and patients who deserve better . It’s time she did the decent thing and go.”






THE SNP’S BLIZZARD OF SPIN ON NHS PERFORMANCE

29 May 2018

Once again SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is attempting to blame the severe weather created by the Beast from the East on NHS performance on her watch.

The Health Secretary attempted this at the start of May in an attempt to justify failed performance on Delayed Discharge soaring cancelled operations and unacceptable levels of patients waiting more than 12 hours at A&E.

Regarding the Beast from the East:

The Met first delivered an amber warning from the Met on the 26th February with a first red warning on the 28th.

By the 2nd of March the Met office advised that conditions were easing.

On the Treatment Time Guarantee the period covered is from January-March 2018

As Richard Leonard outlined at First Minister’s Questions this week, the trend for the Treatment Time Guarantee is actually a decline of patients seen in the past year – but more patients waiting more than the government’s legal promise of 12 weeks.




OVER 55,000 PATIENTS JOURNEYS LONGER THAN 18 WEEK STANDARD

29 May 2018

Labour has raised concerns over the health of the health service after new figures for the 18 week referral to treatment standard revealed over 55,000 patient ‘journeys’ took longer than the 18 week target in the first three months of the year.

The Scottish government target for that 90.0 per cent of patients should have a completed pathway within 18 weeks however performance only reached 81 per cent.

Labour said the failures on this standard speak to problems across the health service rather than one specific pressure point.

Labour has established a workforce commission to develop a blueprint to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“NHS staff work round the clock to provide the care Scots need but it is becoming increasingly clear that they are facing an uphill struggle under this SNP government.

“Too many Scots are waiting too long between referral to treatment. That suggests problems across the whole health service, not just in one or two key pressure points.

“Labour has established a workforce commission to develop a blue print to fix the NHS staffing crisis for good. Shona Robison should reflect on these figures and reflect on her own position as health secretary. The problems in our health service are mounting up.”




WAITING TIMES FOR KEY CLINICAL TESTS BRANDED UNACCEPTABLE

29 May 2018

- 1 in 5 wait longer than six weeks Labour has branded waiting times for key diagnostic test for conditions such as cancer unacceptable, as new figures reveal almost 18,000 cases were taking longer than they should have in new data published today.

That means that 80.6 per cent of patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at 31 March 2018 had been waiting less than six weeks - a drop of almost 7 per cent compared to March the previous year.

A standard waiting time of six weeks was set by the Scottish Government in 2009 for diagnostic tests such as CT and MRI scans to aid early detection of conditions like cancer or brain tumours.

However, new figures released today show at least 17,139 as of March this year were waiting longer than the 6 week expected standard.

Labour said the figures were unacceptable, and are rooted in the SNP government’s long term mismanagement of NHS in Scotland.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“These figures are frankly unacceptable. Too many patients are waiting too long for these key tests.

“These standards are in place to ensure that people with potentially serious conditions get the benefit of early detection and have the best possible chance of a full recovery.

“Instead, the SNP government is presiding over growing waiting lists for patients and growing pressures on our NHS staff.

“We know the SNP Government has completely failed to workforce plan properly. Soaring vacancies for consultants and increasing vacancies for nurses are symptomatic of that.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to put the NHS before the SNP – and find a new health secretary to deliver better support for our health service.”




NICOLA STURGEON SHOULD PUT THE NHS BEFORE THE SNP

25 May 2018

Nicola Sturgeon should put the NHS before the SNP, Richard Leonard said at First Minister’s Questions today.

The Scottish Labour leader revealed figures showing a 234 per cent increase in patients failed under the Treatment Time Guarantee since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.

Last year, over 54,000 people waited longer than the 12 weeks the SNP promised.

That means performance under the guarantee – a legal right the SNP introduced in 2012 – has gone from 95 per cent in 2015 to 81 per cent in 2017.

Earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon pledged to restart the debate on independence, with the SNP’s Growth Commission due to be published tomorrow in an attempt to reboot the case for separation.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“The long delayed SNP Growth Commission report is published tomorrow.

That might excite the backbenches of the SNP but it will exasperate the millions of people right across Scotland who just want the First Minister focused on public services.

“The SNP promised that people would be treated within twelve weeks. In Nicola Sturgeon’s first year as First Minister that promise was broken to one patient in every twenty. Last year it was broken to one patient in five.

“This is the fifth time in six weeks that I have raised the problems in our NHS with the First Minister. There are serious problems right across the health service, and they are growing.

“That’s what the people of Scotland want the government to be focused on. Not another referendum. Not more division. Nicola Sturgeon has to finally realise that the people want her to put the NHS before the SNP.”




Comment on Safe Staffing Bill

24 May 2018

Commenting on the publication of the Safe Staffing Bill, Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said: “The reality is that the SNP has simply failed to properly workforce plan, leaving our doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced.

“Medical staff have repeatedly raised concerns that the SNP’s management of our health service is stretching it to the limit and putting patient safety at risk.

“We support the principle of this Bill and welcome any attempt to fix this SNP mess, but as the BMA point out, this bill will not address the fundamental issue that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has left our NHS chronically understaffed.

“Scottish Labour would end the staffing crisis in our health service and properly invest in our NHS so it works for the many, not the few.”






A&E TARGETS MISSED AGAIN

22 May 2018

A&E targets have been missed yet again under the SNP.

More than 2,500 patients waited longer than four hours at emergency wards across the country during the second week of May.

Scottish Labour said the figures showed the extent of SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s mismanagement of our NHS.

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“These are truly shocking figures that show once again just how out of her depth SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is.

“The SNP has left NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced – and it is patients who are paying the price.

“Yet again, we see thousands of patients waiting longer than they should expect at emergency wards across the country.

“It is increasingly clear that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is simply incapable of turning this around.

“NHS staff and patients deserve better.”




VICTORY FOR LABOUR AS GOVERNMENT SET TO AMEND CHARTER OF PATIENT RIGHTS - SNP WAITING TIME LAW BROKEN ALMOST 120,000 TIMES

9 May 2018

Labour has forced the SNP government into a commitment to amend the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities to ensure patients get an accurate waiting time estimate.

The party will accept a government amendment to a Holyrood motion this afternoon which will lead to health boards giving accurate estimates under the Treatment Time Guarantee.

In 2012 the SNP introduced the Treatment Time Guarantee, which gave patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations.

The law has been broken almost 120,000 times since it was introduced in 2012, analysis from Labour reveals.

Under the present system patients are told they have a legal right to treatment in 12 weeks, but not how long the waiting time for their procedure actually is.

Labour Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said:

“This is a real win for patients across the country, and the government should commit to delivering it by the end of the month.

“In 2012 the SNP made a promise to the people of Scotland that they would have a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks. That law has now been broken almost 120,000 times.

“Patients deserve this transparency when it comes to their treatment. Long and unknown waits can have a negative impact on a person’s work, family life, mental and physical well being.

“NHS boards should communicate an accurate expected waiting time to patients. This upfront approach will at least provide transparency and comfort to patients rather keep them in the dark.

“The SNP has seen common sense here - now they must deliver for patients.”




MORE PEOPLE WAIT MORE THAN 12 HOURS IN A&E THIS YEAR THAN ALL OF 2017

9 May 2018

More people have waited more than 12 hours in A&E in the first five months of 2018 than the whole of 2017.

Weekly Emergency Department Waiting Time Statistics published today reveal 1,856 people have so far waited longer than 12 hours in A&E in 2018, compared to 1,820 over the whole of 2017.

Scottish Labour said the figures were symptomatic of how SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has lost control of the NHS.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“These are truly shocking figures that show once again just how out of her depth SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison is.

“The SNP has left NHS doctors and nurses over-worked, under-staffed and under-resourced – and it is patients who are paying the price.

“Already in 2018, more people have waited longer than 12 hours in A&E than in the whole of 2017.

“For SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison to claim this shows the NHS is in recovery shows just how desperate and out of touch she now is.”






FMQS: DEMAND FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN NHS TAYSIDE

9 May 2018

Labour has demanded a public inquiry into mental health services in NHS Tayside.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard backed the call from local families in Dundee in March.

Today, Mr Leonard raised the tragic case of David Ramsay, who took his own life in 2016 having been rejected for treatment twice by the Carseview centre at Ninewells hospitals in Dundee.

Mr Ramsay’s case is not isolated, and a campaign group called Lost Souls has been established in Dundee for campaign for better services.

Mr Ramsay’s niece, Gillian Murray, wrote to Nicola Sturgeon asking for help on two occasions but the government remains unwilling to commit to an inquiry.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“Scotland’s suicide rate is more than twice as high as the rate in Britain as a whole. In Dundee suicide rates have increased by 61 per cent in a year.

“Behind each of these statistics are real people and real families who have lost loved ones.

“Like the family of David Ramsay in Dundee. David hung himself on the morning of the ninth of October 2016, four days after being turned away by the Carseview centre.

“Tragically David’s story and the experience of his family is not unique in Dundee.

“When I was in Dundee in March I backed the call by families for a public inquiry into mental health services at NHS Tayside. The government now must do the same.”




OVER 3,000 OPERATIONS CANCELLED SO FAR IN 2018

1 May 2018

Over 3,100 operations have been cancelled due to capacity or non-clinical reasons so far in 2018 because hospitals could not cope, new figures reveal today.

Data published by ISD Scotland shows that 1,201 operations were cancelled in March. Added to the 1,248 cancelled in January and 711 in February, this takes the total figure to 3,160.

Labour said the figures piled pressure on under fire Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“Behind each of these figures is a patients waiting in pain for treatment that hospitals have not been able to give.

“We have seen a staffing crisis develop in our health service, with huge unfilled gaps for consultants, nurses and midwives.

“This failure goes straight to the door of the Health Secretary. It is time for Shona Robison to step aside from the Health portfolio.”




OVER 52,000 PEOPLE WAIT TOO LONG AT A&E SO FAR IN 2018

1 May 2018

1 May 2018 Over 52,000 people have waited too long at Scotland’s major A&E departments in 2018, new data released today shows.

Information published by ISD Scotland today show that 52,025 people waited longer than the 4 hour waiting time target in Scotland’s hospitals so far this year.

This is almost half of the number for the whole of 2017 - which saw over 107,000 people wait longer than the 4 hours in Scotland’s emergency departments.

More than 7,000 have waited more than 8 hours and almost 2,000 have waited more than 12 hours.

In NHS Lothian, which faces a funding gap of £31 million, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France recorded a performance of 68.6 per cent.

Meanwhile the flagship £850million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow recorded a performance of 76.4 per cent.

The performance of Scotland’s A&E wards over the winter was the worst on record, with staff increasingly under pressure.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“NHS staff are not getting the support they need from the SNP government in Edinburgh and as a result over 52,000 patients have had to wait more than the A&E standard so far in 2018.

“This pressure on A&E is a wider symptom of problems throughout the health service – from primary care and social care, to mental health services and public health policy.

“Shona Robison has lost control of her brief – and it is patients and staff who are losing out as a result. It is time for the Health Secretary to do the decent thing and resign.”




EXPOSED: A THIRD OF EMERGENCY AMBULANCES MISSED THEIR TARGET IN 2017

28 April 2018

A third of emergency ambulances missed their target in 2017, new analysis from Labour reveals.

Analysis of Freedom of information requests provided to Scottish Labour show that 23,751 ambulances failed to arrive to an ‘immediate life threatening incident’ within the 8 minute target last year – working out to 63 per cent of all that category of call outs.

In two instances in the West Central region, it took more than five hours for an ambulance to turn up.

Immediate life threatening situations apply to conditions such as cardiac arrests where every second counts.

Labour released the information following Richard Leonard raising ambulance response times at First Minister’s questions this week.

The Scottish Labour leader raised the case of Margret Goodman, who is receiving palliative care for brain cancer.

Margaret Goodman’s palliative care nurses phoned three times for an ambulance. After two hours her husband Gavin elected to drive her to A&E himself.

Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

“This is utterly shocking. In life threatening stations every minute counts. Instead that 1 in 3 ambulances called out to an immediate life threatening incident missed their target.

“Our ambulance service, like the rest of our NHS, is currently understaffed, under resourced and under far too much pressure.

“We cannot go on like this. Every aspect of our health service is stretched to near breaking point. From A&E to social care, from primary care to mental health services, from ambulance response times to soar numbers of unfilled consultant posts.

“Enough is enough. Nicola Sturgeon has been in denial about the extent of the pressure on our health service for years now – but patients and staff alike are being failed. It’s time for her to stop making excuses for a Health secretary who is out of her depth and out of time.”




HOLYROOD HEALTH SUMMIT HEARS FROM OVERWORKED DOCTORS

25 April 2018

A Health summit at Holyrood has heard about the fears of doctors over staffing and workload pressures, burnout, and a potential blame culture of overworked NHS staff.

Labour organised a meeting today of senior consultants, GPs and trainee doctors to discuss the pressure on staff with representatives from NHS Scotland, the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council and a cross-party group of MSPs.

Attendees were warned that doctors are facing burn-out and stress, with hungry, exhausted and overstretched doctors at risk of making clinical mistakes.

The meeting heard from the Scottish Action for Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba campaign group.

The cross-party meeting was attended by representatives of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. Health Secretary Shona Robison did not attend, despite being invited.

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“This summit highlighted the stresses our health service is facing, particularly on staff.

“Our dedicated NHS staff are being forced to work hours at end without any breaks, juggling multiple complex cases, with budget and staffing cuts placing them under incredible pressure. They are under strain like never before.

“Those on the frontline say there is now a ‘perfect storm’ with a culture lacking compassion, where doctors suffering stress and burnout do not feel supported and instead are concerned about a blame culture.

“It is inevitable that this increases the chances of mistakes, and unless we care for our doctors and nurses, care for patients will suffer.

“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by all parties – I am disappointed the Health Secretary elected not to attend the meeting at any point.

“This snub confirms how much the Cabinet Secretary is in denial about the pressure our NHS staff face.”




LABOUR PLEDGES CAP ON NHS AGENCY SPENDING AS COSTS SOAR

15 April 2018

Labour will look to use the SNP government’s forthcoming NHS safe staffing legislation to cap private agencies profiting from the health service.

The SNP government is developing a ‘safe staffing’ Bill for the health service to enshrine in law the principles of safe staffing in the NHS, starting with nursing and midwifery workforce planning.

Labour is supportive of the aims of the proposed legislation, but said any new law had to help ensure staff had the support and resources they need on shift. As a result, the party will consider how to amend the Bill to stop private agencies profiting excessively from the health service.

The party announces the plans as new analysis shows spiralling agency spending in the NHS, with a 522 per cent increase in agency nursing and midwifery spending since the SNP government formed a majority in 2011.

The figures underline the impact of Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to cut training places for nursing and midwifery staff in 2011.

Labour has established a Workforce Commission to develop a blueprint to solve the staffing crisis.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Anas Sarwar, said:

“The soaring costs of agency spending for nursing and midwifery jobs in the past ten years shows the absolute mess the SNP government has made of workforce planning.

“It was Nicola Sturgeon as health secretary who force through cuts to training places for nurses and midwives.

"We are seeing the effects of that now with a 522 per cent increase in agency spending since.

“This cannot go on. The health service is our most valuable public service – it shouldn’t be boosting the profit margins of private companies.

“Richard Leonard has pledged that the next Scottish Labour government will legislate to cap the profits of private agencies in the health service – If the SNP wants to start fixing this workforce crisis it should work with Labour to deliver this cap in the safe staffing bill.”




ROBISON HAS LOST THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PUBLIC AND IS LOSING THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PARLIAMENT

15 April 2018

Scottish Labour has today demanded that the First Minister oversee a Scottish Government investigation into misuse of charitable funds at NHS boards and that the final report be presented to her.

The party said that following a pattern of financial mismanagement at NHS Tayside, over a number of years, there was no confidence that SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison would carry out the inquiry competently.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Shona Robison has lost control of her brief, has lost public confidence and she should consider her position.

Scottish Labour says Nicola Sturgeon must take ownership of the investigation into the spending of charity funds, and that it should report directly to her.

The party is also demanding a government statement on the issue. If the government fails to agree, then Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Anas Sarwar will table an urgent question.

It emerged recently that more than £2million from NHS Tayside’s charitable trust was used to fund a new back office computer system.

That incident follows years of financial mismanagement at NHS Tayside, which has had to be repeatedly bailed out with loans from the SNP government during Shona Robison’s tenure as Health Secretary.

There are also now reports that this behaviour is not just isolated to NHS Tayside.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Anas Sarwar MSP said:

“The ongoing crisis at NHS Tayside is a national scandal. That this has happened on SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s watch, and in her own backyard, shows that she has lost control of her brief.

“Under her failed leadership our amazing NHS staff have been let down, too many patients have been failed and now public trust has been breached.

“We still don’t know if this is just an isolated incident or a more widespread practice. That is why we are demanding a swift and thorough national investigation. The public expects nothing less.

“But the reality is, it is Shona Robison’s ineptitude that has caused this mess – the public have lost confidence in her - so she cannot be the one to lead this investigation. It can’t report to her.

"She is out of her depth, out of ideas and out of time – and her position is now untenable.

“The SNP government must come to Parliament at the earliest opportunity and make a full statement. Anything less would be a betrayal of our NHS staff, patients and the public.

“The public deserve proper answers, not an SNP Health Secretary only concerned with trying to cover her own back.”




FRESH PRESSURE ON SHONA ROBISON

10 April 2018

Pressure is mounting on embattled SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison after it emerged A&E targets have been missed again and another health board is demanding emergency funding.

An average of just 87.1% of people attending A&E in Scotland in the last week of March were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour target.

At the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, almost a third of patients had to wait longer than four hours. Meanwhile, NHS Dumfries and Galloway has appealed to the SNP government for emergency funding of £4.5 million in order to maintain services.

SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has been facing mounting pressure after it emerged cash-strapped NHS Tayside had used funds from its charity to pay for a back office computer system.

Scottish Labour said today’s revelations showed Shona Robison has lost control of the NHS in Scotland.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, Anas Sarwar, said:

“SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has lost control of the NHS in Scotland.

“Once again, A&E targets have been missed under her watch – and it is clear she has lost control of health boards across Scotland as well.

“While NHS Tayside stands accused of using charity money to make ends meet - and now NHS Dumfries and Galloway is desperately seeking £4.5 million from the SNP government just to keep services ticking over.

“On Shona Robison’s watch targets are being missed, standards are not being met and the SNP’s financial mismanagement of the NHS in Scotland is being repeatedly exposed.

“She has continually let down hard-working staff and patients – how can we expect her to fix the crisis in health boards when she can’t even properly fund NHS Tayside in her own backyard?

“Shona Robison is out of her depth, out of ideas and out of time. She should be considering her position.




  • COMMITTEES MUST INVESTIGATE IN WAKE OF NHS TAYSIDE SCANDAL

    8 April 2018

    Scottish Labour has written to the Scottish Parliament’s Audit and Health Committees urging them to take immediate action in the wake of the scandal at NHS Tayside.

    Scottish Labour is calling for the Health Committee to take evidence from NHS boards across the country in a bid to reassure the public that charitable donations are being used as intended.

    It is also calling on the Audit Committee to reinvestigate the financing and accounts at NHS Tayside in the wake of the scandal.

    More than £2million from NHS Tayside’s charitable trust was used to fund a new back office computer system. That incident follows years of financial mismanagement by the SNP at NHS Tayside, which has had to be repeatedly bailed out with loans from the government.

    Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar is also backing the call by the chair of the Audit Committee, Jenny Marra MSP, that there should be no so-called golden goodbyes for the senior managers who have left NHS Tayside following the scandal.

    Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

    “The scandal at NHS Tayside has seriously damaged public confidence in our NHS.

    “That is why it is essential all NHS Boards are now called before the Health Committee to establish how this came to happen and if it is more widespread – starting with NHS Tayside.

    “The public need and deserve urgent clarification from other health boards on whether any funds have been misspent elsewhere.

    “The Audit Committee must also urgently reinvestigate the SNP's financial mismanagement of NHS Tayside, which caused this scandal in the first place.

    “SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison appointed John Connell to sort out NHS Tayside after years of chronic mismanagement by the SNP. It would be an outrage if senior managers now received any kind of golden goodbye.

    “The reality is millions of pounds has gone missing from a charitable trust on SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s watch.

    “That is a national scandal - and she must take full responsibility for it and consider her own position.

    "If she can't manage the health board in her own backyard, how can she run the NHS across the country?"




    SHONA ROBISON MUST APOLOGISE TO NHS TAYSIDE CHARITY FAMILIES

    7 April 2018

    Scottish Labour has demanded SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison apologise to families who gave money to NHS Tayside’s charitable trust, as pressure mounts on her over the scandal at the health board.

    More than £2million from the trust was used to fund a new back office computer system. That incident follows years of underfunding at NHS Tayside, which has had to be repeatedly bailed out with loans from the SNP government.

    Scottish Labour is also demanding a speedy investigation by the charities regulator OSCR into the actions at NHS Tayside, as well as a national probe in order to urgently determine whether such behaviour is happening at other health boards and to ensure we can maintain public trust in charitable activity.

    The party’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said that public confidence in the NHS was being seriously damaged by Shona Robison’s mismanagement.

    Mr Sarwar said:

    “Patients across Scotland are growing used to SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s mismanagement of the NHS meaning missed waiting times.

    “But they will not stand for missing millions from charity funds under her watch.

    “She should immediately apologise to the families who donated money in good faith - and explain when the SNP Government will properly fund NHS Tayside.

    “This scandal took place on her watch, in her own backyard. It is absolutely essential there is a full and swift investigation by OSCR, as well as a national probe to reassure the public this is not going on elsewhere.

    "If she thinks simply sacking a chairman she herself appointed just two years ago will resolve this scandal, she is not just incompetent but negligent.

    “SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison cannot wash her hands of the scandal at NHS Tayside. It is her responsibility and, if she had any sense of decency, should be considering her own position.”




    Comment on NHS Tayside

    7 April 2018

    Commenting on the latest developments at NHS Tayside, Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

    "I think it is right that the NHS Tayside chair and chief executive resign from their positions.

    "They have let down local staff, they have let down local patients and they have broken the trust of local people by misusing charitable money in this way.

    "But there are also still serious questions for SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison to answer.

    "This is not an isolated incident – there has been a series of incidents over a number of years, reflecting a complete lack of leadership and mismanagement of our NHS by the SNP minister. "Shona Robison must now consider her own position as she has serious questions to answer."




    PRESSURE MOUNTS ON ROBISON OVER NHS TAYSIDE SCANDAL

    5 April 2018

    Scottish Labour has today written to SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison to demand an investigation into the finances of health boards in the wake of the NHS Tayside scandal.

    The party’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said a full investigation was necessary to ensure other health boards are not misappropriating charitable donations.

    Earlier this week, it emerged NHS Tayside had used money from its charitable trust to fund a new computer system.

    Scottish Labour is also demanding an urgent investigation into the NHS Tayside case – and is urging Ms Robison to make sure other health boards are not engaging in similar practices.

    In his letter, Mr Sarwar said:

    “Public confidence in our NHS has been damaged by this incident. An investigation would, at the very least, help restore some of that lost confidence, particularly for those families who have given money to NHS Tayside’s charitable trust in good faith.

    “The reality, however, is it is not just the patients and residents of Tayside who have been affected by this incident. Such behaviour clearly has national ramifications and will cause deep concern across the country.

    “That is why, while an investigation into NHS Tayside specifically is essential, we also need to establish whether or not such practices have been carried out more broadly.”




    FURTHER FAILURE ON DELAYED DISCHARGE AS BROKEN PROMISE TOPS £370 MILLION

    4 April 2018

    The cost of the SNP’s broken promise on delayed discharge has now cost Scottish taxpayers more than £370million.

    Scottish Labour recently revealed that at least £360million had been lost to delayed discharge since SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s pledge.

    But new figures for February 2018 reveal 38,394 days were spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed.

    That means that a total of 1,596,175 days have been lost to delayed discharge since Ms Robison pledged to eradicate it, costing the NHS an estimated £371,908,775.

    On Wednesday February 25 2015, the SNP Health Secretary told the BBC Good Morning Scotland Programme that: “I want over the course of this year to eradicate delayed discharge out of the system and I am absolutely determined to do that.”

    Meanwhile, A&E wards across Scotland have also once again failed to meet the SNP government’s waiting times target, and the number of operations cancelled because hospitals could not cope has increased compared to this time last year.

    Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:

    “Just last week, Scottish Labour revealed that, despite SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s promises, her failure to get a grip of delayed discharge has cost our health service more than £360million.

    “Now these latest figures prove that the problem continues to cost our NHS millions of pounds. Shona Robison’s broken promise on delayed discharge has now cost Scottish taxpayers more than £370million.

    “That is a staggering figure that could have been reinvested in our NHS to deliver better patient care and staff support.

    “Much of the delay in discharging patients is due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of years of an SNP government slashing local authority budgets, with £1.5billion cut since 2011.

    “Labour’s alternative would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers, ensuring all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel.

    “That’s the kind of radical change our health and care services need.”

    Commenting on the latest A&E figures, Mr Sarwar added:

    “SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison’s silence on the delays in our A&E wards is deafening.

    “It is clear there are real pressures in emergency wards across Scotland. The fact that almost a half of patients had to wait longer than four hours at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary is extremely concerning.

    “The reality is the SNP has left our doctors and nurses over-worked, under-valued and under-resourced.

    “We have already established a Workforce Commission to tackle the SNP’s staffing crisis in our health service – and Labour would use the power of the Scottish Parliament to deliver more investment to build an NHS that works for the many, not the few.”

    Responding to the figures for cancelled operations, Mr Sarwar said:

    "Patients are not getting the care they need because hospitals simply do not have the capacity to cope.

    "SNP ministers need to ask hard questions as to why staff are not better supported. We know that NHS staff don't believe there are enough of them to do their jobs properly, and the numbers of cancelled operations show that SNP ministers need to act.

    "With so many patients being denied treatment and living in pain it is not sustainable for ministers to bury their heads in the sand any longer."

    Note : Delayed Discharge

    In February 2018, 38,394 days were spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed. This is a decrease of 5% compared with 40,246 days in February 2017.

    This means a total of 1,596,175 days have been lost to delayed discharge since Shona Robison pledged to eradicate it. This has cost the NHS an estimated £371,908,775

    The average number of beds occupied per day in February 2018 was 1,371. In January, the daily average was 1,248.

    At the February 2018 census point, there were 1,297 people delayed.

    Of those delayed at the February 2018 census point, 1,077 were delayed more than three days. The most common reason for delays over three days was health and social care reasons (798), followed by complex needs (253), then patient and family-related reasons (26).




    LABOUR DEMANDS REVIEW ON CHRONIC PAIN WAITING TIMES

    13 March 2018

    Responding to the latest set of chronic waiting time figures, which have never been met since the government started regularly reporting performance in 2015, Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “It is now time for a review on chronic pain waiting times. The standard has not been met since the government began regularly reporting performance, and there are clearly issues in certain health boards.

    “Across Scotland over 7,000 patients had to wait longer than they should have to for their first appointment

    “Ministers now need to ask tough questions about why this is happening. The failure on chronic pain waiting times ultimately just piles more stress onto other parts of the heath service.

    “After a decade of SNP government, these figures are simply not good enough.”




    A&E FIGURES REVEAL A HEALTH SERVICE UNDER SEVERE PRESSURE

    13 March 2018 Commenting on A&E performance figures published today, which shows the SNP 4-hour target missed and more than 300 people waiting more than 8 hours for the week ending 04 March 2018, Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “A decade of SNP mismanagement has left our NHS understaffed and under pressure. Patients aren’t getting the care they deserve because staff aren’t getting the support they need.

    “A&E is the front door of the hospital but the all-round health service is not getting enough support – be it through public health, primary care or social care.

    “Improving these key areas will reduce the pressure on our waiting rooms. Instead the SNP is lurching from one sticking plaster solution to another. It isn’t good enough and it lets patients down.

    “That’s why Labour has launched a workforce commission to deliver a blueprint that will fix the SNP NHS staffing crisis and deliver better care for patients.”




    SCALE OF NHS MISMANAGEMENT EXPOSED

    7 March 2018

    • Almost 1,000 operation cancelled because hospitals could not cope.

    The scale of SNP mismanagement of the health service has been exposed, Labour said today, as new statistics reveal problems across the NHS.

    Figures released by ISD Scotland reveal:

    • Almost 1,000 operations cancelled because hospitals couldn’t cope in January.

    • The national A&E target missed, with the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary falling below 70 per cent.

    • An increase in nursing and midwifery vacancies in the health service.

    • A decrease in GP numbers.

    • Only 71 per cent of patients seen within the waiting time target for child and adolescent mental health services.

    • Only 76 per cent of patients seen within the waiting time target for psychological therapies.

    Labour said the sheer scale of the problems within the health service points to fundamental mismanagement of the NHS by the SNP over the last decade.

    Scottish Labour has established a workforce commission to consider the staffing crisis in the health service and develop a blueprint to make the NHS fit for the future.

    Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “These figures point to a SNP government that has fundamentally mismanaged our health service for a decade. The time for short term, sticking plaster solutions must stop. These figures should be a makeup call for Health Secretary Shona Robison – the lack of support for staff means patients are not getting the care they need.”

    On almost 1,000 cancelled operations in January because hospitals did not have the capacity to cope, Anas Sarwar said:

    “More than 30 operations cancelled a day because our hospitals didn’t have the capacity to cope should shame this government. It is clear hospitals do not have the resources they need but ministers seem determined to bury their heads in the sand."

    On staffing, Anas Sarwar said:

    “This is shambolic workforce planning. We are seeing an increase in unfilled posts for nurses and midwives across the country while the number of GPs fall. It is no wonder health boards cannot hit the targets the SNP government set them – they don’t have the staff to do it.

    “Our NHS staff do lifesaving work, but they are overworked and undervalued because the SNP has created a workforce crisis in our health service.

    “That is why Labour has established a workforce commission to answer the long term problems with staffing in our health service, and give our NHS staff the support they need to deliver the care that Scots deserve.”

    On mental health waiting times, Anas Sarwar said:

    “There is a crisis in mental health services across Scotland and it letting vulnerable people down. Scotland is gripped by a mental health crisis.

    "The figures for children and young people are especially worrying. Early intervention is needed, giving children and young adults the support they need, before anybody reaches the stage of needing clinical treatment.

    "That is why Scottish Labour is calling for access to school-based counselling, a proposal the SNP government should finally listen to.”




    SNP MUST START LISTENING TO NHS STAFF - SARWAR

    3 March 2018

    SNP ministers must start listening to NHS staff, as a new survey reveals the strain on health service workers.

    The Health and Social Care Experience report reveals that only around a third of staff believe there are enough of them to do their jobs properly – a figure which drops to 20 per cent for Scottish Ambulance Service staff.

    Meanwhile, less than half believe they have enough time to do their job properly.

    The results are published days after Labour revealed a huge increase in unfilled nursing and midwifery posts in the health service.

    Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar has established a workforce commission to look at the staffing gaps in the health service and deliver a blue print to fix it.

    Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “This week we have seen extraordinary stories about NHS staff battling through the snow to get to the hospital and deliver the care patients need.

    “That shows the incredible commitment NHS staff have to their jobs, but they are being badly let down by the SNP government in Edinburgh.

    “Ministers should hang their heads in shame that only a third of health service staff think there are enough of them to do their jobs properly, with less than half believing they have the time to do their job properly.

    “Labour has been warning about a staffing crisis in our hospitals for years – if Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t listen to us she should listen to the staff, and make a start in fixing this mess.”




    MISSED TARGETS AND FALLING PERFORMANCE ON KEY SNP NHS PROMISE

    28 February 2018

    A key Scottish Government promise on the NHS has seen missed targets and falling performance year on year, new figures released today shows.

    In 2012 the SNP introduced the Treatment Time Guarantee, which gave patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations.

    However new figures today show that only 80.4 per cent of patients were seen within the 12 week waiting time.

    This compares to a performance of 86.8% during the equivalent quarter in 2016.

    Other data just released shows: • Declining performance for outpatient waiting times

    • The 18-week referral to treatment standard missed

    • Declining performance and a missed target for key diagnostic test waiting times

    • The A&E target missed again, with 201 patients waiting more than 8 hours

    Labour said the figures revealed a health service bucking under pressure, and said a decade of SNP mismanagement had left the NHS understaffed and under pressure.

    Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “The SNP made a promise – in fact ministers made a legal guarantee – that inpatient or day case treatment patients would receive treatment within 12 weeks for certain conditions.

    “Instead new figures reveal that promise has been broken and that performance is sliding.

    “A decade of SNP mismanagement has left our NHS under staffed an under pressure.

    "Patients aren’t getting the care they deserve because staff aren’t getting the support they need.

    “That’s why Labour has launched a workforce commission to deliver a blueprint that will fix the SNP NHS staffing crisis."

    On A&E performance Anas Sarwar said:

    “A&E is the front door of the hospital but the all-round health service is not getting the support it needs – be it through public health, primary care or social care.

    “Better support for our health service in these key areas will reduce the pressure on our waiting rooms. Instead the SNP is lurching from one sticking plaster solution to another. It isn’t good enough and it lets patients down.”




    FOUR-FOLD INCREASE IN UNFILLED NURSING POSTS

    25 February 2018

    Unfilled nursing and midwifery posts in the health service have increased four-fold since Nicola Sturgeon cut training places as Health Secretary in 2011.

    The nursing and midwifery student intake dropped from 3,505 in 2010/11 to 2,713 in 2012/13.

    That generation of students is soon to finish graduating – with the latest figures showing 2,789 unfilled nursing and midwifery posts in the health service.

    That represents a 353 per cent increase since 2011, when the first round of cuts began and the vacancies have steadily grown every year since.

    Speaking in 2012, as she announced a cut of around 300 places for the 12/13 academic year Nicola Sturgeon said: “A reduction in intake for the 2012 academic year is a sensible way forward. The intake sets a balance between ensuring the right number of nurses and midwives for the future while also minimising the risk of oversupply and graduate unemployment.”

    At the time the Royal College of Nursing warned: “...all the evidence we’ve gathered shows that this further cut in numbers in 2012-13 risks there not being enough professionally qualified nurses graduating to meet the demand for health services in the future and that this cut will be bad for patient care.”

    Labour has set up a Workforce Commission to develop a blueprint to fix the staffing crisis in the health service.

    Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar, said:

    “When Nicola Sturgeon decided to slash training places for nurses and midwives, she claimed it was a sensible decision.

    “Instead that generation of students graduate to a health service that has seen the number of unfilled posts soar every year since.

    “During that period nurses, along with the wider public sector workforce, have faced a pay restraint policy which has forced staff out of the profession or into private agencies.

    “Our hospitals simply don’t have enough staff – and that is a consequence of decisions made by Nicola Sturgeon when she was Health Secretary.

    “It was a spectacular error of judgement that has piled the pressure on our hospitals, and let patients down.

    “Labour has established a Workforce Commission to develop a blueprint to fox the staffing crisis in our health service.”




    CULTURE OF SECRECY AND SPIN IN THE NHS REVEALED

    21 February 2018

    A survey of health board members has revealed that almost 60 per cent believe their board is not always transparent with members of the public.

    The anonymous survey into NHS corporate governance for Holyrood’s Health and Sport committee reveals that a total of 59 per cent of members do not believe their board is always open and transparent with the public about decision making.

    In one damming reply, an anonymous board member said:

    “We are terrible at admitting that we are financially constrained and pretend that decisions are based on clinical grounds when in most cases they are based on clinical, staffing and financial elements. The debate with the public is therefore fundamentally dishonest (and the public are not stupid).”

    The responses are published with cuts and closures in the NHS in the spotlight. It is just weeks since the SNP government chose to shut down the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

    Meanwhile, Labour MSP Neil Findlay will lead a debate around the repeated closure of St John’s children’s ward to out-of-hours in patients in Livingston.

    Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health Anas Sarwar said:

    “The survey reveals the impact of financial constraints from the SNP government to our health boards, leading to a culture of secrecy and spin.

    “The responses suggest that health boards may be being forced into claiming decisions are based solely on clinical reasons, rather than due to financial pressure and staffing gaps.

    “That simply is not good enough. SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison should explain why there are such transparency problems at these health boards.

    “The reality is our health service has been treated to a series of sticking plaster solutions from the SNP government rather than the support it needs to deliver the care Scots deserve.

    “Support for primary and social care isn’t good enough, which piles up pressure on acute services, meanwhile a staffing crisis means huge unfilled gaps in the workforce.

    “That’s why Labour has set up a workforce commission to deliver a blueprint to solve the NHS staffing crisis, to deliver the care Scots deserve.”




    "ROBISON HAS IGNORED LOCAL PEOPLE IN CHILDREN’S WARD DECISION"

    23 January 2018

    Shona Robison has ignored the concerns of local people in the decision to shut down the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley, Labour said today.

    Having been forced into making a statement to parliament about the decision, the Health Secretary faced fierce criticism from Labour, raising the case of Karen Meikle and her son Alex.

    West of Scotland Labour MSP Neil Bibby also highlighted concerns that the decision was ‘snuck out’ on Friday afternoon, rather than in a statement to the Holyrood chamber in the first place.

    Ms Robison also faced questions about the children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

    West of Scotland Labour MSP Neil Bibby said:

    “Over 17,000 people supported the campaign to stop the closure of the ward, including NHS staff and parents with direct, first-hand experience of the excellent care it provides.

    "Parents like Karen Meikle who has told her story to the Paisley Daily Express today.

    “The way that SNP politicians nationally and locally have behaved has left local families feeling totally betrayed and without any trust left in this government.

    “Throughout this process, the Cabinet Secretary assured the families that she would listen. Well they couldn’t have been clearer in what they were saying.

    "Yet these families have been ignored. Shona Robison has snubbed parents. She should come to Paisley and explain her decision”

    Labour Health spokesperson and Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar said:

    “I pay tribute the Save Lightburn Campaign and the Kids Need Our Ward campaign.

    “Local residents and service users tirelessly fighting to protect their local services, services they were promised would stay open during the election.

    “Sadly, while one is celebrating the other is rightly distraught and dismayed. The reality is we should never have been here in the first place.

    “When faced with a leaked cuts paper the government denied any proposals to close Lightburn or the RAH paediatric ward even existed.

    “Neil Bibby was called a liar. Kez Dugdale was called a liar. The campaigners were accused of scaremongering.

    “Now the closure is confirmed and 8000 cases will be transferred to the already over-stretched Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

    “This is a result of cuts imposed by this Government and a workforce crisis overseen by this Government.

    “This is a betrayal.”

    Labour MSP for Dumbarton Jackie Baillie said:

    “There is no getting away from the fact that the First Minister was asked in a TV debate whether the children’s ward at the RAH would close.

    “And she was clear, she would not close that ward. And the cabinet secretary knows that there were proposals to close the ward before May 2016.

    “The First Minister has of course given similar commitments to my local community about the Vale of Leven Hospital. This is fundamentally a question of trust, and the key question for me is whether we can trust anything that the First Minister tells us.”

    Labour MSP for Lothian region Neil Findlay said:

    “In 2016 Nicola Sturgeon said live on TV during an election debate that there were no plans to close the children’s ward at the RAH in Paisley.

    “For 6 years there have been staffing problems on top of staffing problems at St John’s children’s ward in Livingston with assurances that it would not be closed.

    “Parents, children, grandparents and local people who joined me on Friday at a protest at St John’s will struggle to believe a word the cabinet Secretary or First Minister says about the future of Children’s services in Livingston given their blatant betrayal of the people of Paisley.”




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