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SNP slammed for ‘national scandal’ of missed NHS targets

More than half of patients referred for specialist professional treatment are waiting for over four weeks

SNP ministers were on the rocks again yesterday over the “national scandal” of missed NHS targets as it was revealed that more than half of patients referred for specialist professional treatment waited over four weeks.

The Scottish government set a four-week waiting time target for key services provided by professions such as physiotherapy and podiatry.

But new analysis shows that this has been broken more than 300,000 times since it was introduced by Nicola Sturgeon in 2016.

The target is for 90 per cent of musculoskeletal patients to receive their first out-patient appointment within this period, but only 50.1 per cent did in the quarter to June 30.

It is just the latest of a number of key targets missed in the NHS north of the border, as pressure grows on the SNP government over health provision.

Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “While Nicola Sturgeon has spent two years trying and failing to build support for a second independence referendum, tens of thousands of NHS patients have been left in pain.

“It would be regrettable for one patient to wait over a month for treatment. For this promise to have been broken more than 300,000 is nothing short of a national scandal.

“Our NHS simply does not have enough staff or funding from the SNP government. Failing patients has now become the norm under Nicola Sturgeon.”

Twelve per cent of patients in the same period waited more than 16 weeks for an appointment.

In Lanarkshire, the proportion of patients seen within the target for the quarter ending June 30 fell to 25.1 per cent. In contrast NHS Shetland saw 74.7 per cent of its patients within the target time.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Every day waiting to see a specialist can cause people with musculoskeletal conditions to have their activity limited and be left in pain.”

SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman responded: “We are aware this needs to improve and we will continue our work to bring down waiting times.

“This includes sharing learning from best performing boards and working with other boards to identify local solutions and new models of care.”

Conrad Landin is the Morning Star’s Scotland editor.

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