NHS crisis: Shocking difference between number of patients waiting two years in Scotland and England show SNP must act – Scotsman comment

Estimated number of patients waiting more than two years in Scotland was 7,849; in England, it was just 599

SNP politicians have developed a reputation for deflecting criticism of their performance by saying the situation in Scotland is better than in England. Such pleas of mitigation (essentially ‘times are tough but we’re handling them better’) may satisfy some, but they are of no use whatsoever to those being let down by their government.

Furthermore, it is a tactic that invites other comparisons. Yesterday we wrote of our fears that the extraordinary waiting lists for NHS services – with about 14 per cent of Scotland’s population on one in March – were leading to the gradual privatisation of healthcare, as patients give up and pay for treatment.

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Now comes the news that, while the estimated number of patients waiting more than two years in Scotland was 7,849 on March 31, the comparable figure in England, a country with ten times our population, was just 599. Despite some statistical differences, that is a staggering disparity. The Scottish Government needs to stop making glib excuses for failure and start responding to the NHS crisis in ways that make an actual difference to people’s lives.



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