Murdo Fraser MSP is calling on the SNP Government to act to ensure Tayside patients who are waiting for an operation are seen as soon as possible.
The Scottish Conservative politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, was reacting to figures released by Public Health Scotland, which reveal that the number of operations carried out by NHS Tayside has fallen from 2,020 in February last year to 1,297 in April this year – a decrease of 36%.
Overall, 18,630 operations were carried out in Scotland in April, which was the highest figure since the end of March 2020 when lockdown measures had been introduced. However, that figure is still almost 33% lower than the 27,645 operations that took place in February 2020, prior to the first Covid lockdown.
Mr Fraser has urged new SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to urgently outline a plan to tackle the treatment log-jam that has built up over the pandemic.
The Scottish Conservatives will continue to push for a one-off £600 million investment in the NHS to specifically tackle the backlog in waiting times, which would be led by a dedicated taskforce of clinicians.
Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “While it is understandable that NHS Tayside have been focused on tackling Covid cases over the last year, SNP Ministers can’t simply forget about patients waiting on vital treatments and procedures.
“As the situation with Covid in our hospitals has continued to improve, it is welcome to see that more operations have taken place. However, the number of operations being carried out in Tayside is still significantly lower than prior to the pandemic in February 2020.
“We must see the SNP’s new Health Secretary urgently outline a plan to tackle the treatment log-jam that has built up during the pandemic in Tayside to guarantee patients are seen as soon as possible.”
Mr Fraser continued: “We have a mountain to climb in terms of ensuring operations levels return to pre-pandemic levels in Tayside and the SNP’s Health Secretary must be fully focused on our NHS recovery, rather than agitating for another independence referendum in the coming weeks and months.”