Alex presses for NHS Burnout Recovery Plan


Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said “patients and staff desperately need new hope” after Audit Scotland reported on the precarious state of the health service and highlighted serious gaps and oversights in the Scottish Government’s recovery plans.

The NHS in Scotland 2021 report revealed that: 

  • The backlog of patients waiting for treatment is still getting worse.
  • The success of the recovery plan hinges on recruiting and retaining staff but that they have “shouldered a heavy burden”, their wellbeing has suffered, mental health-related absences have soared and there are huge numbers of vacancies.
  • The Scottish Government “does not yet have an overall strategy for monitoring the wider health impact of Covid-19”.
  • "The NHS's ability to plan remains hindered by a lack of robust and reliable data”, including in workforce planning, primary care, community care and social care.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“The NHS and its staff are on the verge of burnout. They have been let down by fifteen years’ worth of botched workforce and pandemic planning by the SNP Government which gave them no option but to work flat out.

“There is still no realistic plan to deal with the old problems made worse, from delayed discharges to record staff vacancies and waiting lists lasting years. It is putting lives at risk.

“This report shows why the SNP/Green Government was wrong to vote down our plans for a Burnout Prevention Strategy to protect staff. It must also now back Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals for a Health and Social Care Staff Assembly that puts their expertise and experience at the very heart of the crisis response.

“At this rate, the NHS recovery plan will need upgraded to a resuscitation plan. Patients and staff desperately need new hope and deserve better than ministers who seem determined to turn their attentions towards independence.” 

SP today said “patients and staff desperately need new hope” after Audit Scotland reported on the precarious state of the health service and highlighted serious gaps and oversights in the Scottish Government’s recovery plans.

The NHS in Scotland 2021 report revealed that: 

  • The backlog of patients waiting for treatment is still getting worse.
  • The success of the recovery plan hinges on recruiting and retaining staff but that they have “shouldered a heavy burden”, their wellbeing has suffered, mental health-related absences have soared and there are huge numbers of vacancies.
  • The Scottish Government “does not yet have an overall strategy for monitoring the wider health impact of Covid-19”.
  • "The NHS's ability to plan remains hindered by a lack of robust and reliable data”, including in workforce planning, primary care, community care and social care.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“The NHS and its staff are on the verge of burnout. They have been let down by fifteen years’ worth of botched workforce and pandemic planning by the SNP Government which gave them no option but to work flat out.

“There is still no realistic plan to deal with the old problems made worse, from delayed discharges to record staff vacancies and waiting lists lasting years. It is putting lives at risk.

“This report shows why the SNP/Green Government was wrong to vote down our plans for a Burnout Prevention Strategy to protect staff. It must also now back Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals for a Health and Social Care Staff Assembly that puts their expertise and experience at the very heart of the crisis response.

“At this rate, the NHS recovery plan will need upgraded to a resuscitation plan. Patients and staff desperately need new hope and deserve better than ministers who seem determined to turn their attentions towards independence.” 


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