Cole-Hamilton: Tens of thousands waiting on tests and treatment “need new hope”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said patients and NHS staff desperately “need new hope” after statistics revealed that 126,000 people are waiting for key diagnostic tests and waiting lists are getting much worse. 

Public Health Scotland statistics published today show: 

  • 126,000 patients were waiting to be seen for eight key diagnostic tests at the end of September – an increase of 10,000 since June with the waiting list now 42% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • More than four in ten patients waiting at 30 September for these key tests were waiting longer than the 6-week standard (42% compared to 37% at the end of June).
  • The waiting list for procedures under the First Minister’s legally binding 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee increased by a further 9.3% between June and September 2021, and now stands at over 100,000.
  • The Treatment Time Guarantee was breached for 80,000 patients (patients seen during the quarter or still waiting at its end).
  • Performance against the 4-hour A&E waiting time declined again in the week ending 21 November.

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“The long waits are as bad as ever and the backlog of people needing treatment is growing fast. 

“These terrible figures show why the attentions of SNP ministers must be squarely upon the NHS. For Nicola Sturgeon to spend the weekend reheating the independence campaign was an insult to patients and staff.

“People need new hope that they will be diagnosed and treated quickly. The retention of staff is so important this winter because without them every plan to recruit new people, stabilise the health service and curtail the backlogs will fall flat. It is why Scottish Liberal Democrats have proposed an urgent new Burnout Prevention Strategy to protect everyone on the frontline this winter.” 

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