• Sunday, July 14, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Humza Yousaf accused of ‘incompetence’ after sharp rise in waiting list deaths

Scottish Labour said that 18,390 people died while on a waiting list in 2022

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf (Photo by Fraser Bremner – Pool/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

SCOTTISH first minister Humza Yousaf was accused of ‘incompetence’ after latest figures revealed a 39 per cent increase in the number of patients dying on waiting lists, reported The Times.

Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, said that the fundamental basis of our National Health Service (NHS) was founded on the concept of providing free healthcare when it is needed. However, it is evident that this principle no longer applies to thousands in Scotland, he alleged.

Sarwar also accused Yousaf of ‘incompetence’ after new figures showed the number of patients forced to go private to escape queues had risen by almost half, to 2,700.

“Does the first minister accept that his incompetence has created a two-tier NHS, where people are forced to either go into debt in order to stop the pain and get treatment they need, or to languish on an NHS waiting list?,” Sarwar was quoted as saying by The Times.

Public Health Scotland’s (PHS) recent data revealed over 7,000 patients waited more than two years for outpatient appointments, despite the government’s 12-week treatment target.

This was across only four health boards, Ayrshire and Arran; Borders, Grampian and Highland, and the true figure will be far higher.

According to Labour party’s own statistics, 18,390 people died while on a waiting list in 2022, compared with 13,211 in 2019.

As many as 19,000 Scottish patients have opted to pay for treatment, with self-pay admissions increasing by 73 per cent on pre-pandemic levels, data from the Private Healthcare Information Network revealed.

Statistics showed that 7,849 Scots were waiting for more than two years for inpatient, outpatient or day care treatment from NHS Scotland as of March 31, when compared to just 599 in England.

The number of patients in England waiting for treatment for over 18 months is 10,737, whereas in Scotland, the figure stands at 21,681.

Yousaf claimed that outpatient two-year waits declining by 19 per cent compared with those in the last quarter and almost 70 per cent from the same quarter in 2022.

“I don’t want a single person having to wait longer than they have to. I apologise, of course, to anybody who is waiting unnecessarily on a waiting list for treatment,” he is reported to have said.

“Now, that is not to take away from some of the individuals who are waiting far too long. We know waiting on a waiting list can have significant and severe consequences.”

According to the government, the number of outpatients waiting for over 78 weeks for care has nearly halved since the implementation of the targets.

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