HEALTH Secretary Shona Robison is “out of her depth and out of time”, Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale declared as she called for her resignation after damaging new figures on cancelled operations, delayed discharge and A&E waiting times.
Official NHS data showed more than 400 operations were cancelled due to capacity or non-clinical reasons in March because hospitals could not cope – a near four-fold increase since February.
Delayed discharge, also known as bed blocking, saw 363,964 bed days lost at a total cost to NHS Lothian of nearly £85 million.
And the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh recorded the worst A&E performance in Scotland, with just 68.6 per cent of patients seen within four hours in the week ending April 22. Ms Dugdale said the statistics laid bare the scale of the crisis in NHS Lothian and called for the Health Secretary to quit.
She said Ms Robison had broken a promise made in 2015 to “eradicate delayed discharge out of the system”.
Ms Dugdale said: “NHS Lothian is in crisis. Shona Robison’s failure to keep her promise on delayed discharge has cost our health service a staggering £85 million. That is money that could have been reinvested in our health service in the Lothians to improve patient care. To compound the crisis, there has been a massive increase in cancelled operations, causing anguish for patients across the region. At the Royal Infirmary, the A&E performance continues to fall far short of the government’s target.
“NHS staff in the Lothians are simply not getting the support they need from the SNP government. The short-sighted crisis management approach to our health service needs to change – starting with the Health Secretary.
“Shona Robison is out of her depth and out of time.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman and Lothian MSP Miles Briggs also attacked the government over the latest figures.
He said: “In the past year almost a quarter of operations that were cancelled by NHS Lothian were due to capacity issues.
“Over the last 11 years SNP Ministers have mismanaged the workforce planning of our NHS to the extent that we now have a staffing crisis.”
But Ms Robison said 281 of the 417 cancellations for capacity or non-clinical reasons in Lothian during March were due to the bad weather.
“Severe weather and warnings not to travel did mean many staff could not get to hospital and this level of disruption takes time to recover from. The efforts of health and social care staff were tremendous.”