The full scope of the crisis engulfing Scotland’s NHS has been exposed after it emerged that one in seven of the country’s people is now awaiting treatment and the number of GPs has fallen to a record low.
Official figures found that the number of people on waiting lists for hospital procedures, outpatient appointments and diagnostic tests rose to 776,341.
At the end of September 474,600 patients were waiting for an outpatient appointment and 141,796 hospitalized patients or day treatment. The total of 616,396 patients included 73,284 who had been waiting a year or more.
A further 159,945 people were awaiting diagnostic tests, meaning that overall the equivalent of one in seven Scots was on an NHS waiting list. This is an increase from one in eight six months ago, even before the busy NHS winter term began.
In a double whammy, the number of GPs fell three per cent in the past three years to the lowest level since comparable figures were first published in 2009. Just over a third of practices reported an opening last year. past.
BMA Scotland likened the “hugely worrying” drop to the Scottish government’s promise to increase the number of GPs by 800 by 2027 and warned that overburdened practices were now at a “tipping point” that could see many close.
The pressure on Humza Yousaf, the secretary of health under fire from the SNPIt intensified when it also emerged that barely a third of patients attending accident and emergency at Scotland’s flagship super hospital were seen within the four-hour target.
Just 35.1 per cent of A&E patients at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital were seen on time in the week ending November 20, the worst performance of any hospital since records began.
‘A time bomb’
Similarly low figures were recorded at some of Scotland’s other largest hospitals, with 41 percent seen on time at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary and 47 percent at Aberdeen’s Royal Infirmary.
The flurry of statistics came the week after leaked minutes showed health chiefs discussing charging the richest patients and hospitals adopting risky practices like discharging patients more quickly, despite the fact that this is not the “gold standard”.
They also predicted that: “Unscheduled care is going to go down in the short term before planned care goes down.” The minutes indicated that the directors were given the “green light” to discuss proposals that were “not previously viable options.”
Mr. Yousaf hailed a 20 percent reduction in the number of outpatients and inpatients waiting more than two years for treatment. However, he had previously promised that these would be abolished by the end of September.
Scottish Conservatives reiterated their demand that Mrs Sturgeon be sacked “his failed health secretary before more patients suffer from their incompetence.”
Dr Sandesh Gulhane, a Tory GP and shadow health secretary, said: “These disgraceful figures are a time bomb. It is staggering that the number of patients waiting in NHS backlogs has now passed three quarters of a million.”
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labor health spokesperson, said: “Make no mistake, The incompetence of Humza Yousaf it is risking lives and creating the two-tier health service.
“Hundreds of thousands of lives and the very survival of our NHS are at stake – it is time for the worst health secretary since devolution to be sacked.”
‘Lack of investment’
Dr Andrew Buist, chairman of BMA Scotland’s general practitioners committee, said there were fewer family doctors to treat people “at the exact moment that we are seeing substantial increases in the demand for care, driven by a growing and aging population and increasingly long waiting lists.”
He said: “On that basis, it should come as no surprise that some practices are collapsing, with GPs cutting hours or leaving the profession due to workload pressures and patients struggling to get the care they need.
“This is a vicious circle, as the more the pressure increases, the less manageable or bearable the job as a GP becomes for those who are left working in practices.” He accused the SNP ministers of “lack of investment” in increasing the number of GPs.
Mr Yousaf said: “We recognize the impact long waiting times have on a patient, both from a clinical and mental health perspective, so we are announcing ambitious waiting time targets to address the backlog of planned care.
“These figures show that NHS boards and their staff are working very hard, during difficult times, to meet these targets and support patients.”
He said his winter plan would see the recruitment of an additional 1,000 staff and that the Scottish government remained committed to increasing the number of GPs by 800, with training places increasing by 35 next year.