Alex Salmond under fire over NHS waiting times ‘complacency’

Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ALEX Salmond has been accused of “astonishing complacency” over Scotland’s NHS after he insisted the SNP government had ended hidden waiting lists for patients.

The row at yesterday’s First Minister’s questions came after it emerged that hundreds of patients have waited up to eight months for diagnostic tests, breaching the Scottish Government’s 18-week treatment time guarantee.

NHS Grampian, which covers Mr Salmond’s own constituency of Aberdeenshire East, said 550 of its patients waited longer because of a backlog caused by a broken scanner.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed that former health secretary Nicola Sturgeon had either been “misleading parliament and the country” on NHS waiting lists or was “just incompetent and not on top of her job”.

The Labour leader said in March last year the former health secretary had admitted there were hidden waiting lists in NHS Lothian, but had “assured” MSPs it was not happening anywhere else in Scotland.

Ms Lamont insisted the problem, was more widespread as a “serious problems” as she hit out at the “SNP hidden waiting times scandal”.

Mr Salmond dismissed Ms Lamont’s claims and said that hidden waiting times in the NHS had been “abolished” by the SNP government.

Mr Salmond went on to defend Ms Sturgeon’s record as health secretary.