Delays to half of NHS Scotland treatment centres named 'very disappointing' and 'unacceptable' by political parties
Half of the national treatment centres planned in Scotland to increase capacity for NHS operations are facing delays in an outcome that has been branded “unacceptable”.
The centres are due to open at ten Scottish sites and are meant to be delivering at least 40,000 additional procedures per year by 2026.
But it has now been revealed at least five will not open as originally scheduled and some of the proposals have still to be agreed.
However, Carol Mochan, Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, said the situation was “extremely disappointing” as she stressed one in eight Scots were on a waiting list for NHS services.
She said: "It’s very understandable that people are very angry about this – both patients and staff who are at the centre of the NHS trying to get their work done while the Government are failing on many accounts around treatment centres, accident and emergency (A&E), around ongoing bed situations, so it’s very disappointing.
"This has been going on before Covid and the Government has acknowledged this and that they haven’t properly planned.”
Plans to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank and provide five new elective and diagnostic treatment centres were first unveiled by the Government in 2016, with the aim for them to be completed by the end of last year.
But this target was missed, with the Government expanding the plans to instead create ten specialist national treatment centres (NTCs).
The Government has now said four of the national treatment centres would open within the next year in Fife, Highland, Forth Valley and one at the Golden Jubilee specialising in orthopaedics.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane, Scottish Tories shadow health secretary, said: "In health, we don’t have enough link workers, we’ve got the longest A&E waiting times, we’ve got the longest ambulance waiting times, leading to people dying and I’m terrified of what they are going to do when they try to roll out the biggest change to the NHS which will come with our national care service.
"[Health secretary] Humza Yousaf simply does not understand the NHS and SNP policies of not hiring appropriate staff, not having enough workforce, is coming back.
"Every day that passes we are significantly adding to our waiting times.”
Dr Gulhane said there was a “hidden” 550,000 people who were still to be seen as outpatients, stating this was something he had seen at his own surgery, which was leading to people having chronic pain.
The Scottish Conservative MSP added: “This is unacceptable.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Lib Dems leader has called on the Scottish Government to focus on delivering treatment centres.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “With every day that passes, I despair at the chaos this SNP/Green government is wrecking on our NHS.
“These treatment centres were meant to be a cure to the crisis. Now, they are becoming part of the crisis.
"The Health Secretary should finally listen to Scottish Liberal Democrat calls for a staff burnout prevention strategy and a Health and Social Care Staff Assembly."
The Government said they are supporting health boards by investing £11 million over the next five years to build increased capacity.
A Government spokesperson said this would support an additional 1,500 staff for the national treatment centres and said they would continue to work closely with NHS boards to open the NTCs “as soon as possible”.
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