Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called on the Scottish Government to ensure that all available resources are being mobilised to get non-urgent operations up and running, as he told of bank nurses who had contacted him to say that they were available to work but were not being given shifts.
Mr Rennie said:
"I have been contacted by bank nurses who say they are ready and willing to get to work with tackling the backlog of non-urgent operations facing the NHS.
"The Scottish Government was right to pause non-essential treatments while we ensured that the NHS had enough capacity to address a wave of COVID-19 patients. But whilst we are protecting people from the virus others are suffering in different ways and some people's conditions are deteriorating.
"Over the coming months there will be a significant backlog of cases to address; both for those whose treatment was delayed and also for others who missed out on cancer referrals or developed mental health conditions during the lockdown.
"Now that the virus threat is gradually receding and we thankfully aren't stretching the extra capacity created, we need to put NHS resources to work to tackle the cases of all those struggling with poor mental health and chronic pain. Where we have the staff and the capacity we should be putting it to work to help people in pain.
"The Scottish Government should let patients know when they should expect to be treated. That glimmer of hope can be so important to patients suffering with longstanding conditions."
Carole Barrowman, who is a bank nurse working in NHS Tayside, commented:
"There are many people who having been living in pain, discomfort or mental distress throughout this crisis because their operations have been delayed or treatments have been paused.
"There are many nurses who have been out of work during this crisis who have the ability and the capacity to contribute and get non-covid related NHS services back up and running. I want to put my skills to good work to ease the strain on the NHS that will undoubtedly follow this lockdown."