Last week, the First Minister told us that she wants to be judged on her record. This week, Audit Scotland published a damning report on her government’s record on the NHS.
The SNP claim to have protected investment in our NHS. Audit Scotland say that funding has been cut in real terms by nearly 1% over the last 7 years. Two health boards have been forced to take out loans from the Scottish Government just to break even.
The SNP claim that things are getting better in our health service. Audit Scotland say that national performance against key targets and standards is getting worse.
Waiting times targets have been missed and missed again. Health boards have experienced huge problems in recruiting and retaining qualified staff. Territorial health boards spent £284 million in 2014/15 for temporary workers, an increase of 15% from the previous year.
Audit Scotland have warned that the Scottish Government needs to increase the pace of change if the 2020 vision is to be achieved. Yet SNP Ministers seem to have their heads in the sand.
During the referendum the SNP warned us that a No vote would spell disaster for our NHS. But the truth is that Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues have been in control of our health services for years.
After eight years of SNP government, our NHS seems to be in need of intensive care. Staff and patients must not be left to pay the price of the SNP’s failure to support health services.
Complacency is not an option for SNP Ministers. We need to know what steps they will take to address the huge challenges facing our health service.