NHS crisis: SNP was warned health services would 'fail' as population rose but did nothing about it – Ian Murray MP

While we can all acknowledge that Covid has exacerbated problems in our NHS, pleas from health practitioners about pressures on services, especially in South Edinburgh as reported in the News yesterday, have gone on for many years.

GPs were under pressure even before the Covid pandemic (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA)
GPs were under pressure even before the Covid pandemic (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA)

After years of SNP mismanagement, we entered the pandemic with unprecedented pressures on GP services in Scotland. How did we get here?

In 2020, NHS Lothian submitted a report to the Scottish Government which highlighted the extent of new house building in South Edinburgh and the impact that would have on GP services.

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The report demanded additional infrastructure to support these new residents and alleviate pressure for existing residents. It went on to warn the Scottish Government that health services in three parts of Lothian would ‘fail’ if action wasn’t taken.

Two years on, Nicola Sturgeon and her government have completely ignored NHS Lothian’s bombshell and the impact on local people couldn’t be clearer.

But not only are they ignoring the problem, they are making it worse. GP practices are not allowed to be “full” as each local practice is allocated a new resident automatically but many simply don’t have the capacity.

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It’s now virtually impossible to register with an NHS dentist in Lothian and accessing GP services is challenging. It means more patients attending A&E and that is contributing to record A&E waiting times.

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At this uncertain time, when families are struggling to get by, our NHS, that could always be relied on, free at the point of use, is being neglected and ignored.

Yet when you point out the SNP’s failures, they just accuse you of talking down Scotland and blame others. The truth is they’re tearing down Scotland and the institutions that make us great.

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In place of responsible government and sufficient provision of public services, the Scottish Government remains hellbent on separation and the tedious constitutional merry-go-round.

It’s a national disgrace. How bad does it have to get before they wake up and change their priorities?

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I have yet again written to the Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP, to ask why his government has ignored these pleas. But if my previous attempts are anything to go by, I should expect more radio silence.

This a dereliction of duty. We have known about the size and scale of new developments in South Edinburgh for over a decade.

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In fact, the Scottish Government allowed several appeals against council planning committee decisions for planning permission on greenbelt developments.

At this point, we can conclude that Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf are simply washing their hands of this crisis.

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But SNP incompetence doesn’t stop at general practice; waiting lists are spiralling out of control while they continue to sit on their hands.

They talked up their NHS Recovery Plan but true to form, it’s merely all words and no action. Some 708,000 people, that’s one-in-eight Scots, are on an NHS waiting list.

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Fewer operations are being scheduled, discharges are being delayed, staff vacancy levels are soaring, the list goes on.

And what did we get yesterday at PMQs: two nationalist Alba MPs suspended from parliament for ridiculously trying to declare independence. There’s certainly no nationalists shouting about saving our Scottish NHS and resolving the GP crisis in Lothian and in Edinburgh South. Priorities, eh?

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Ian Murray is Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South