SNP’s ten year record on NHS attacked in Parliamentary debate.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative & Unionist MSP for Lothian, and the Shadow Health Secretary, today criticised the SNP Government’s record on the NHS over the last ten years in a Parliamentary debate on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government. In addition, Miles paid tribute to Frank’s Law campaigner Mrs Amanda Kopel for her success in forcing the Scottish Government to commit to introducing Frank’s Law which he has also been working to introduce.

Speaking in the debate Miles said:

“ It is more than ten years now since this SNP Government took full charge of Scotland’s NHSand therefore an appropriate moment to assess their record of more than a decade running our health services in Scotland.

“ A legitimate place to start that assessment is the SNP’s 2007 Manifesto – and I am sorry to say that it is littered with broken promises. Targets pledged in 2007 for waiting times from referral to treatment and for cancer patients have been consistently missed. An NHS Redress Bill has failed to materialise. A promised reduction in anti-depressants has instead seen anti-depressant use soar. A pledge to ring fence mental health funding to health boards and local authorities has been abandoned. Health checks for all men and women when they reach the age of 40 discontinued.

“ The list goes on – and any similar analysis of the SNP’s 2011 and 2016 manifestoes reveals a further catalogue of let downs.

“ But not only have they failed to deliver many of their own Manifesto pledges for improvement – this summer has seen confirmation from a wide range of indicators that show our health service is moving backwards under this failed SNP Government. The A&E waiting time target has been met in just six weeks out of 52. The 18 week referral to treatment target hasn’t been met for more than 3 years now. Waiting times for vital diagnostic tests are increasing. More than one in ten cancer patients are waiting too long for treatment. Outpatient waiting times are growing and the number of outpatients waiting longer than a year for treatment has jumped by 400% in the space of a year. Performance in seeing inpatients and day cases is deteriorating and five out of six targets for stroke patients are now being missed.

“ In addition, over a quarter of adults are waiting too long for psychological therapy. The Government is set to miss its target for getting GP services online. Delayed discharge is still costing hundreds of thousands of lost bed days. And the proportion of significant and high risk backlog maintenance in the NHS estate has increased.

“ And at the heart of so many of the problems we are seeing across the health service is the sad reality that we have a worsening and severe NHS workforce crisis – one that the Scottish Government has had warnings about for years – but a Government that took more than a decade just to publish its first National Workforce Plan.

“ Decisions made by SNP Ministers during their time in office have exacerbated the workforce crisis and they need to have the humility to accept this. It was Nicola Sturgeon as Health Secretary who made the very poor decision in 2012 to cut student nurse placements, arguing at the time that the cuts were a “sensible way forward” when the RCN was warning that the move was not sustainable and would impact on patient care.

“ More recently in the 2016 budget the SNP cut funding for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships by £15million – it is therefore just a little ironic to hear the First Minister announce on Tuesday funding to support Alcohol and Drug services when it is her Government who have put these very services in such a difficult position in recent years.”


Miles Briggs