26 Oct 2017
A report released by Scotland’s public services watchdog has blasted the state of the NHS north of the border.
Audit Scotland’s annual review of the health service highlighted a series of failings across numerous areas of the organisation, and issued grim warnings for the future.
The SNP government is repeatedly failing to hit waiting times targets for patients, it stated, while health boards are being restricted in terms of financial planning by one year budgets.
And auditors warned: “Scotland’s health is not improving and significant inequalities remain.”
The report also said there were “warning signs that maintaining the quality of care is becoming increasingly difficult”.
Audit Scotland recommended ministers improve governance, accountability and transparency, as well as promote culture change and develop a longer-term approach to financial planning.
The damning report also highlighted an £887 million backlog in maintenance of the NHS estate, and pointed out life expectancy here is poorer than in most other European countries.
Last year, £171 million was spent on employment agencies to bring in temporary staff, while £109 million was spent on locums, it said.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“This report exposes just how badly the SNP has mismanaged the NHS since it came to power more than 10 years ago.
“Hospitals are short-staffed, workers are stressed and the maintenance backlog is spiralling out of control.
“And while this happens, as this report states, people aren’t getting any healthier.
“What more indication could the SNP need to show it has to change its ways on the NHS.
“For years it neglected the health brief at the expense of agitating for separation, and now those chickens are coming home to roost.
“That’s a disgraceful approach to government, and one which won’t be forgiven by the people of Scotland.”