MSP’s action call to ease surgery backlog
Mid Scotland representative says patients‘deserve clarity’on op restart
The Scottish Government is being urged to outline plans to deal with the backlog of NHS Tayside operations caused by the impact of COVID-19.
On March 17, NHS Scotland was placed under emergency measures and health boards were asked to suspend all nonurgent elective treatment to redeploy vital NHS staff to support the response to the pandemic.
On March 23 Scotland entered lockdown, meaning many operations planned for May were cancelled long before they were due to take place.
New preliminary figures from the Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland were released covering hospitals in Scotland where planned operations take place in theatres.
The Scottish Government stressed these figures currently act as an “indication” only, and that the most upto-date accurate quarterly figures will be published on August 25.
According to ISD estimates, between March and May 2020 only 1746 of these planned theatre operations took place, a difference of 4199 from the 5945 planned operations which took place in the same period last year.
As restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ease,
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alexander Stewart said the Scottish Government “now needs to support health boards” to tackle the backlog of operations that have built up.
“With all non-urgent operations having been postponed since the COVID-19 pandemic, of course a backlog of operations was going to be necessary across Tayside,” Mr Stewart said.
“However, as we continue to see the easing of lockdown restrictions, we must now urgently see that the SNP government lays out a plan to support NHS Tayside in terms of dealing with the ever growing backlog of operations.
“All patients deserve clarity over when operations will restart in their local health board and when they can expect to have their operations carried out.
“Our health boards were already working tirelessly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to try and carry out operations, but they must be supported by the proper resources from the SNP Government.
“I will be continuing to lobby for the proper resources to be given in order to allow patients to have their long-awaited operations as soon as possible.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The figures being quoted are incorrect as they measure activity, including the number of scheduled and cancelled operations.
“The most up-to-date accurate quarterly figures for elective surgery will be published on August 25.
“We asked health boards to postpone non-life threatening elective procedures to allow vital NHS staff to be redeployed to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the pandemic eases and the health service continues to gradually reopen, we will do we all we can to support health boards to catch up on any outpatient and inpatient treatment that have been postponed, while also being able to respond to ongoing COVID-19 requirements as necessary.”