As the SNP devote their time to pushing independence at their annual conference, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has revealed new analysis showing that in the seventeen months since the pandemic began more than 230,000 operations were cancelled and called on the SNP to demonstrate that they care about the nation's health as much as they care about the nation's borders.
Analysis conducted by Scottish Liberal Democrats reveals that between March 2020 – July 2021, a 17-month period, 251,508 operations were conducted. Analysis of previous years reveals that the between 2016 and 2019, the average number of operations conducted was 485,208. This means that 233,700 operations have been lost to Covid.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"This analysis shows that since the start of the covid pandemic almost a quarter of a million operations have been lost to Covid. What's even worse is that if you are a patient whose operation was cancelled and you look through the SNP's NHS recovery plan there is no clue as to when you can expect to get treatment.
"Across the UK the NHS has benefited from the hard work and dedication of its staff. Of all the institutions we share, it is perhaps the one that Scots are most proud of. Sadly staff and patients are being sold short by an SNP that cares far more for our nation's borders than it does for our health.
"Any minister who thinks that independence is more important than tackling the backlog of operations in our health service is neglecting their duty to the country.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out clear plans to get the NHS back on its feet with resources to ensure that missed targets for A&E performance, operations and screening programs are met, expanded testing capacity in every health board to meet the need to assess more people on suspicion of cancer and other life-limiting conditions and a massive listening exercise so that NHS staff can tell us which service innovations they pioneered during the pandemic will be essential to rebuild the health service. That's an offer that will deliver new hope for our NHS, rather than the flimsy proposals put forward by the SNP."