SNP must tackle 'ticking timebomb' of operation backlogs

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Graham Simpson has called on the SNP to tackle a ‘ticking timebomb’ of a backlog of operations in NHS Lanarkshire. 

The MSP for Central Scotland has made the call after the latest figures from ISD Scotland showed the backlog of operations that have resulted due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

Across Scotland, almost 20,000 fewer operations were carried out in June this year than in 2019, with the figures for NHS Scotland showing 1,944 fewer patients had operations than 12 months previously.

Mr. Simpson says it is also concerning that there are reports of patients travelling down south in order to tackle chronic pain issues, at great expense.

Now, Mr. Simpson says SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman must ensure NHS Lanarkshire have the sufficient funding and support in order to carry out operations without any further delays.

They have also called on the Health Secretary to give a guarantee that the backlog will not mean waiting times targets are routinely missed as they were prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting, Mr. Simpson said: “The continued backlog of operations across NHS Lanarkshire is of huge concern to patients who have already been suffering in recent weeks and months.

“While it was right NHS Lanarkshire focused on tackling Covid-19, the SNP now need to urgently lay out how the backlog of operations will be tackled to ensure waiting time targets are not routinely missed again.

“Right now they are facing a ticking timebomb when it comes to targets for patients waiting to be seen.

“With 1,944 fewer operations taking place in NHS Lanarkshire than June last year it shows the scale of the challenge they are facing and the SNP Government must ensure they have the sufficient funding and support in place.

“It is concerning to hear of patients already travelling south to tackle chronic pain issues as a result of health services restarting more slowly under the SNP.

“The safety of patients is paramount, but there still seems to be a real lack of urgency from Jeane Freeman and the SNP to tackle the backlog of operations.

“This should be rectified as a matter of urgency to patients waiting for operations in NHS Lanarkshire.”