Health secretary Humza Yousaf has come under further criticism over widespread cuts in healthcare as the NHS Forth Valley came under Scottish government control.
NHS Forth Valley has been raised to stage four of the National Performance Framework for NHS Scotland Governance, Leadership and Culture, following concerns that health board leadership have failed to improve performance in a series of key areas.
The government will now oversee the development and delivery of the NHS Forth Valley improvement plan, to address concerns about out-of-hours and unscheduled care.
Mr Yousaf said: “NHS Forth Valley staff continue to work tirelessly to deliver the high-quality care we expect. However, concerns remain about the leadership’s ability to respond effectively to the issues being raised.
“We have been engaging with NHS Forth Valley for some time on a variety of performance-related issues, including concerns about GP out-of-hours services and unscheduled care. The common barrier to improvement in these areas is governance, leadership, and culture.
“The escalation to stage four will bring direct supervision from the Scottish Government and we will work with the Forth Valley to ensure immediate improvement. Significant work is already underway to address the legitimate concerns raised and I will update Parliament as progress is made.”
The decision comes after the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert posted its worst wait-time performance earlier this month, with just 38 per cent of patients seen, discharged or admitted within the four-hour target. .
During a Scottish Labor Party debate in the Scottish Parliament, the party’s health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, criticized the government’s plans to cut £400m from its health and social care budget, including £65m from the primary care development fund and £5 million from the GP. sustainability fund.
“This is the most misguided decision I have ever seen, to cut GP resources when they are most needed during a winter crisis,” he said.
“This is stunning incompetence on the part of this SNP health minister because GPs are on their knees and if these serious concerns are not addressed, more people will end up in already overwhelmed acute services when they could have been cared for locally. in primary care. I urge the Cabinet Secretary to reverse the cuts.”
Mr Yousaf said one area where he would “love” to save money is on refunds for Labour’s “disastrous PFI and PPP projects”, which he says cost the government £250m a year. year.
The health secretary said: “In terms of our GP and primary care practices, they have been hit by Brexit, by the pandemic and of course by the cost of living crisis.
“We will continue to invest in our multidisciplinary teams. Jackie Baillie seems to be dissuading them, but since 2018 3,220 employees and multidisciplinary professionals have been hired.”
The Scottish Conservative’s shadow health secretary, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, also questioned Mr Yousaf’s record as health secretary, saying: “Here’s a snapshot: the worst cancer wait times on record. The worst record for late discharges with an average of 1832 beds filled every day due to late discharges, and you are hearing the Cabinet Secretary say that we are better off than England. We live in Scotland.