Shona Robison Has 'Record Of Failure' As Health Secretary

21 November 2016, 07:18 | Updated: 21 November 2016, 11:08

Labour has accused Health Secretary Shona Robison of a "record of failure'' as figures show more than 178,000 patients waited four hours or more at A&E since she took the post two years ago.

Ms Robison was appointed on November 21, 2014 and since then 178,198 patients waited longer than the Scottish Government's four-hour A&E target to be seen, an average of 265 patients daily.

NHS Scotland's annual report published last week showed its accident-and-emergency (A&E) departments ranked as the best-performing in the UK for the first time despite failing to meet the waiting-times target.

Labour's criticism follows a recent report by public spending watchdog Audit Scotland which warned health boards will need to make ''unprecedented savings'' this year and some risk being unable to balance their budgets.

Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "Shona Robison has a record of failure as Health Secretary.

"The fact that almost 180,000 patients in Scotland have waited longer than four hours to be seen in A&E since Shona Robison was appointed to the job is an outrage.

"Local services facing closure, a growing workforce crisis and health boards making cuts - that's the reality of life for our NHS under the SNP.

"All across Scotland communities face losing the local services they depend on. Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow, cleft palate services in Edinburgh and the children's ward at the Royal Alexandra in Paisley all face closure or downgrading.

"The Scottish Parliament voted for Shona Robison to call in all the services at risk yet she has refused to do so. The SNP should respect the will of parliament and protect these vital local NHS services.

"Shona Robison promised to abolish delayed discharge completely yet thousands of patients are trapped in hospitals when they just want to go home.

"But rather than give social care the funding it needs, the SNP has hammered the budgets of councils which provide social care.''

A spokesman for Ms Robison said: "This is a shameful attack on our health service from a party which has argued for NHS funding levels even lower than the Tories.

"That's in sharp contrast with the SNP's commitment to increase the health budget by almost £2 billion by the end of this parliament - the highest commitment of any party.

"Scotland's core hospital A&Es are the best-performing in the UK - a record maintained now for 19 months.

"Performance levels here are 8% higher than in the Tory-run NHS in England and a massive 16% higher than in Wales, where Anas Sarwar's Labour colleagues are in charge.''

She said numbers of nurses, consultants, paramedics and GPs have increased to a record high under the SNP and performance and satisfaction has improved.