26 0ctober 2017

The SNP’s management of the health service is spiralling out of control, Alex Rowley said today at First Minister’s Questions. (Thursday 26th. October)

Questioning Nicola Sturgeon on Audit Scotland’s annual state of the NHS report, the interim Scottish Labour leader highlighted increasing health board deficits, prescribing costs and agency spending.

Mr Rowley also revealed that Labour will use its opposition business slot in Holyrood next week to debate the report further.

The Audit Scotland report, released today, has exposed widespread problems throughout the health service, with seven out of eight key targets missed.

Interim Scottish Labour leader, Alex Rowley, said:

“Anyone reading this report from the Auditor General on our NHS cannot be anything but concerned.

“Concerned about the budgets and the financial management of health and social care and the shortages of staff at every level and concerned for the impact of all of this on patients.

“Meanwhile, a lack of workforce planning is driving up costs through having to use agency staff and locums.

“The whole thing is spiralling out of control.

“Labour will use our debating time in Holyrood next week to discuss the Audit Scotland report further.

“After ten years in government Nicola Sturgeon cannot just continue with more of the same – we need a full government response to this report.”

Key quotes from ‘NHS in Scotland 2017’:

“Health funding continues to increase but NHS boards had to make unprecedented levels of savings in 2016/17.” (P11)

“People are waiting longer to be seen with waiting lists for first outpatient appointment and inpatient treatment increasing by 15 per cent and 12 per cent respectively in the past year. The majority of key national performance targets were not met in 2016/17 and wider indicators of quality suggest that the NHS is beginning to struggle to maintain quality of care.” (p11)

“The overall health of the Scottish population continues to be poor and significant health inequalities remain. Life expectancy is lower than in most European countries and improvements have stalled in recent years. Smoking rates have continued to reduce but drug-related deaths increased significantly in 2016/17 and are now the highest in the EU.” (p11)

“The 2017/18 health budget is £13.1 billion, an increase of 1.5 per cent in cash terms, and a decrease of 0.1 per cent in real terms from 2016/17.” (p13)

“It is becoming more difficult for NHS boards to identify the savings they need to make.” (p14)

“In 2016/17, NHS boards spent £171 million on agency staff, an increase of 79 per cent in real terms over the past five years. Spending decreased, however, by three per cent between 2015/16 and 2016/17.” (p17)

“NHS boards had a total backlog maintenance of £887 million in 2016/17, a slight decrease from £898 million in 2015/16. There has been a seven per cent increase in backlog maintenance classed as significant and high risk, to 47 per cent in 2016/17.” (P17)

“Boards reported spending £109 million on agency medical locums in 2016/17, an increase of six per cent in real terms on the previous year.” (P17)

“In the past year, the number of people waiting for their first outpatient appointment increased by almost 40,000, a 15 per cent increase.” (p21)

“The number of people that waited over the standard 12 weeks for their first increased by over 300 per cent (from 21,500 people waiting in the quarter to March 2013 to 87,500 people in the quarter to March 2017). Of these, the number of people that waited over 16 weeks for their first appointment increased tenfold, from 5,000 to almost 58,000 people.” (p21)

“As with last year, NHS Scotland failed to meet seven out of eight key performance standards in 2016/17.” (p22)

“Over the past five years, overall performance has declined in six of the eight key performance standards and remained static in one, with performance only improving against the four-hour accident and emergency standard.” (p22)

“There are signs that the NHS’s ability to maintain quality of care is under pressure and this needs to be closely monitored.” (p23)

“Scotland’s health is not improving and significant inequalities remain.” (p24)

“People living in areas of deprivation are still much more likely to be in poorer health than those living in more affluent areas. The gap is not closing and in some measures is widening.” (p25)

“The Scottish Government does not yet have a strategic approach to capital investment and developing health and social care facilities.” (p35)

Source: NHS in Scotland 2017 >>>




23 October 2017

The SNP government’s failure to tackle delayed discharge has cost the NHS more than £100 million in the last year, according to Labour analysis confirmed by the independent experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice).

NHS Scotland estimates that it costs £214 per day to keep a patient in hospital who is medically cleared to return home.

In the period of September 2016 to August 2017, the most recent figures available, 511,972 bed days were occupied by delayed discharge patients, meaning the cost to the NHS for the year was £110 million.

SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised to abolish delayed discharge out of the system completely in February 2015.

Labour said one of the key reasons that delayed discharge remained a problem was cuts to the budgets of local councils who provide social care.

Labour social care spokesperson Colin Smyth:

“The SNP promised to abolish delayed discharge; instead it has cost our health service more than £100 million in the past year.

“The system is unsustainable. The SNP government cannot continue to slash the budgets of local services that people rely on and not expect it to have a knock on effect to our health service.

“Much of the delays in discharging patients are due to social care issues and delays in care assessments – the result of years of an SNP government slashing local authority budgets, with £1.5billion cut since 2011.

“Labour would take a different path. We would end the cuts to our councils and deliver a National Guarantee for care workers.

“Labour would ensure all care workers are given appropriate training, paid the living wage, including the time and cost for travel, and no worker would have to deal with the insecurity of a zero-hours contract.

“Only Labour would create a country that works for the many, not the few.”

NHS Scotland estimates that it costs £214 per day to keep a patient in hospital who is medically cleared to go home.

For the period Sep 2016 - Aug 2017, the total number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge patients was 511,972

That means delayed discharge has cost the NHS £110 million in that period.

What the SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised on delayed discharge:

“I want over the course of this year to eradicate delayed discharge out of the system and I am absolutely determined to do that.”

Source: Shona Robison, BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Wednesday 25 February 2015