Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said Nicola Sturgeon's NHS Treatment Time Guarantee "is not worth the paper it is written on" after new statistics show it being missed by an even wider margin.
The ISD figures reveal just 81% of patients were seen within the 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee in the quarter ending 30 June 2017. This compares 91% a year earlier. NHS Grampian recorded the lowest figure at 66.8%. Nearly double the patients were missed by the target, almost 13,500 patients waited more than 12 weeks, compared to less than 7,000 a year earlier.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"Nicola Sturgeon's treatment time guarantee is not worth the paper it is written on. It is being missed for one in five patients.
"When the First Minister announced her legally binding guarantee she said there would be 'a straightforward system of redress, on the rare occasions when things go wrong'. On her watch, the Scottish Government is now letting patients down on an unprecedented scale. They and hardworking NHS staff are owed an apology and a thorough explanation of how it will turn this around.
"Responsibility for the waiting times crisis lies squarely at the door of SNP ministers. They ignored warnings of an NHS recruitment crisis and failed to deliver a step change in mental health.
"Instead of allowing the NHS to drift down the agenda, it is time SNP ministers made a transformational investment in mental health services, empowered frontline staff and gave them the resources and support they need."