This week at FMQs I questioned the First Minister on the release of a new Audit Scotland report on the state of Scotland’s health service.
This report raises massive concerns for the state of our NHS. It shows the failings in budgets and the financial management of health and social care, the shortages of staff at every level and highlights the impact of all that on patients.
Health boards across Scotland are not able to make the cuts to balance their budgets. Those same boards are then borrowing money from the Government to balance the books, storing up debt for the future. Prescribing costs are increasing at a level that is not sustainable. Indeed, we now have council tax funding being used to pay for prescriptions through the integration joint boards. The lack of workforce planning is driving up costs and we are having to use more and more agency staff and locums. The whole thing is spiralling out of control.
I think that the Audit Scotland report says today that we are not doing enough and we are not moving fast enough. I challenged the First Minister to publish a response to the report that tells the people of Scotland how her Government intends to tackle the big issues that are facing our health and social care services.
We can’t keep leaving the dedicated staff in our hospitals, our health centres and our community care centres who are run off their feet, to clear up the Government’s mess. It is time the Government listened and takes action to address these failings.
For anyone wanting to read the full report, please click here for a copy.