Cole-Hamilton: Soaring waiting lists signal need for “new hope” for NHS

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said patients and NHS staff desperately “need new hope” after statistics revealed that 155,405 people are waiting for key diagnostic tests and waiting lists are getting much worse.

Public Health Scotland statistics published today show:

  • 155,405 patients were waiting to be seen for eight key diagnostic tests at the end of March – an increase of 14,143 (10%) since December 2021 with the waiting list now 75.8% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • 78,310 people waiting at 31 March 2022 for these key tests were waiting longer than the 6-week standard (compared to 40,819 in March 2021)
  • Nicola Sturgeon’s 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee was breached for 103,439 patients (patients seen during the quarter or still waiting at its end)
  • More than 550,000 people are now waiting for treatment as an outpatient or inpatient

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“The long waits that patients are facing are worse than ever and the backlog of people needing treatment is growing fast. Many sectors are emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, but it’s a different story for NHS staff working tirelessly to stabilise the health service.

“These appalling figures show why the attentions of ministers must be squarely upon the NHS. It is further proof that the SNP/Green Government was wrong to vote down my calls for an urgent new Burnout Prevention Strategy to protect staff. They are being taken for granted.

“People deserve clarity, not the false hope of Nicola Sturgeon’s 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee. It’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats have also called for people to be told the average and longest waiting times in their area for their procedure.”

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