Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has warned that NHS boards in the south of Scotland are facing ‘a perfect storm’ as the Covid pandemic continues.

In recent months, statistics released by the Scottish Government covering 2021 and 2020, have shown a variety of issues for the NHS resulting from the pandemic, including increased waits in A&E and fewer patients diagnosed with cancer (see tables below).

This week’s A&E figures showed that none of the health boards covering the south of Scotland met the Scottish Government’s target for 95% of patients to be seen and subsequently admitted or discharged in four hours.

Colin Smyth said: “For almost two years we’ve been living with Covid, and both the virus and the impact of restrictions have been devastating for thousands of families, whether they’ve lost loved ones, are suffering from the debilitating effects of Long Covid or have had appointments for other health conditions affected.

“The pandemic has had a terrible impact on every aspect of our lives but nowhere have we seen this more acutely than our NHS.

“The NHS has been battling with Covid, while also trying to treat every other health issue which it would normally face. However, after being forced to shut down huge numbers of clinics, surgeries and other services, our fantastic NHS is now facing a perfect storm.

“In the past week, health boards were still being forced to cancel some surgeries because of pressures arising from Covid.

“We are going to have to live with this virus for a long time to come and we can’t have the NHS being forced to choose between tackling the virus and treating other conditions.

“I fear we are creating a real ticking time bomb when it comes to other health conditions because NHS staff are so stretched.”

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