Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that lessons must be learned from failures in pandemic planning, PPE and protecting care homes, as the Auditor General for Scotland released a major report into the state of the health service.
The NHS Overview 2020 revealed:
- More than 9,000 people have died as a result of the pandemic
The number of people waiting longer than 12 weeks for an inpatient or day case admission to hospital increased from 28,179 in March 2020 to 60,074 in September 2020.
The death rate from Covid-19 is more than twice as high in the most deprived areas (183 per 100,000 population) than in the least deprived areas (79 per 100,000 population).
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"Our brave and hard-working NHS and care staff did the very best they could, and we are all grateful for their sacrifices and efforts. But they were let down by centralised planning and decision making.
"The Scottish Government's Silver Swan pandemic exercise was an utter failure. It claimed there was sufficient PPE stockpiled for even the worst case scenario, didn't mention testing and missed out care homes. Those were all fatal errors. Despite describing a pandemic as the biggest single threat to the country, virtually nothing was done to prepare and staff were warning they weren't being given the time or resources to do anything about it.
“Now we know that in 2020 over 150,000 operations were lost to Covid. Many of are still waiting for treatment and screening.
"We need a robust and effective NHS recovery plan, one that will focus on catching up on lost operations and guarantee all people the care they need fast. There are still huge challenges ahead of our NHS, it must not be hamstrung by more poor government planning."