SALMOND ADMITS ONE HEALTH BOARD ‘FIDDLING’ WAITING TIME STATS YET REFUSES TO HOLD SCOTLAND-WIDE INQUIRY

Scottish Labour has called on the First Minister to order an urgent investigation into the SNP’s hidden waiting times “scandal” that has already engulfed one Scottish Health Board after it emerged patients were being offered appointments in Harrogate and Northumbria which, if refused, meant they were exempt from national waiting times targets.

Despite Alex Salmond admitting at First Minister’s Questions today that one Health Board had been deliberately offering unrealistic surgery appointments in England, he refused to back Labour’s call for a Scotland-wide inquiry.

It comes as Scottish Labour published new figures today showing that the number of inpatients being exempted from waiting time targets for “social” reasons has, inexplicably, increased by almost 300% in the last few years. 

 

Speaking following First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister Dr Richard Simpson MSP said: 

“Alex Salmond admitted today that at least one Health Board has been fiddling waiting time figures – yet astonishingly ruled out a full Scotland-wide inquiry. How do we know this is not just the tip of the iceberg?”

 

Talking about the mysterious increase in patients being exempted from waiting list targets, Dr Simpson said:

“Whenever figures increase so substantially, you’ve got to ask why. The SNP government’s failure to do so will have people wondering what Alex Salmond has to hide.”

 

Dr Simpson continued:

“This latest revelation casts serious doubt over the integrity of the SNP’s claims on waiting times and makes a mockery of their promise to keep Scotland’s NHS local when patients are being asked to endure a 400 mile round trip for routine operations.

“We need a full Scotland-wide investigation into the SNP’s hidden waiting list scandal – anything else is simply not good enough.”

DR SIMPSON COMMENTS ON CANCER STATISTICS – SNP MUST REDOUBLE EFFORTS TO TACKLE HEALTH INEQUALITIES

DR SIMPSON COMMENTS ON CANCER STATISTICS – SNP MUST REDOUBLE EFFORTS TO TACKLE HEALTH INEQUALITIES  

Commenting on statistics published recently that show 15,200 people died from cancer last year, lung cancer rates are continuing to rise and the mortality rate for cancer is 79% higher in the most deprived areas of Scotland than the least deprived areas,

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:   

“Despite progress over the last two decades, cancer continues to claim the lives of too many Scots.  

“These figures expose the fact that we are still not doing enough to tackle health inequalities. The SNP government must redouble its efforts to ensure resources on prevention and early diagnosis are far better targeted in the most deprived areas.  

“With smoking more prevalent in deprived areas and lung cancer rates continuing to rise the government must step up its efforts to help smokers kick their habit – something that won’t be helped by the SNP cutting the budget for smoking cessation by almost £1 million. 

“Early detection of cancer is absolutely key. I urge the SNP to share in Scottish Labour’s ambition and provide a two week cancer guarantee, so that if a GP suspects a patient has cancer they will see a specialist and get results within two weeks. Improved detection must also be matched by investment in the best possible treatments.”