Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has today proposed new measures for inclusion in the forthcoming NHS Recovery Plan and challenged Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to recognise within the plans that the NHS didn't have the resources to meet waiting times for years before the pandemic struck.
The SNP have promised that their NHS recovery plan will be published by 14th August, within 100 days of the new Parliament starting.
Mr Cole-Hamilton is today asking the Health Secretary to ensure that the plan includes:
- Resources to ensure that missed targets for A&E performance, operations and screening programs are met.
- Increasing the number of diagnosis and treatment centres within health boards.
- Expanded testing capacity in every health board to meet the need to assess more people on suspicion of cancer and other life-limiting conditions.
- Listening to the views of NHS staff as to which service innovations they pioneered during the pandemic will be essential to rebuild the health service.
- Funding a bigger range of specialists, diagnosis and treatment in local communities and expanding the services available in GP surgeries.
- Training more mental health specialists.
- Specialist long Covid clinics and new in-home support.
It comes as new Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis of statistics has also found that 230,000 scheduled operations have been lost to the pandemic.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“The NHS is an institution that we can be proud of. Its staff have gone above and beyond over the past 18 months.
“The forthcoming recovery plan needs to acknowledge that our health service doesn't just need a post-Covid recovery plan, it needs a recovery plan from 14 years of SNP rule.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats want a comprehensive package of measures now put in place that truly reflect the role the NHS plays in our national life.
“That means giving the NHS the support and resources to meet targets for A&E treatment, cancer waits and mental health that were routinely missed for years even before the pandemic. Waits were already long, staff were already under pressure and milestones in the flagship Waiting Times Improvement Plan were already being missed.
“It also means using the knowledge and experience of NHS staff to work out how to build a better health service, not asking them to constantly plug the holes.
“There is only one chance to get this right. The forthcoming NHS Recovery Plan will need to hold the answer for staff and patients alike.”