NHS faces cash meltdown ‘without reform’
Scotland’s NHS faces financial meltdown without “widescale reform”, the country’s public services watchdog has warned.
Audit Scotland said the money pressures surrounding the health service were intensifying, and that there could be a health and social care black hole of £1.8 billion by 2023.
Its report, released tomorrow, also revealed the SNP government has slashed the capital budget for health by 63 per cent over the last decade.
As a result, there is almost £1 billion in maintenance delays for the NHS estate, and serious problems remain within two flagship hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh which are newly built.
It’s the latest warning about the challenges facing the NHS under SNP control.
Auditors said just two of eight key health targets were hit last year, health boards needed £65.7 million in bailouts, and progress in making changes for the future has been “too slow”.
In addition, around half of all savings made by health boards have been “one-offs”, rather than recurring efficiencies which could balance the books in future.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“This is another utterly damning reporting by independent Audit Scotland into SNP minsters and their shocking mismanagement of our NHS.
“It’s now becoming an annual event where SNP failings on the health service are brutally exposed in this way.
“It just demonstrates how 12 years of SNP distraction and relentless focus on nothing but trying to rerun a divisive independence referendum is failing to improve our NHS and failing to support those who have dedicated their careers to our NHS and improving the health of the nation.
“From the ongoing hospital building scandals to the failure to deliver the integration of health and social care services, this report makes for desperate reading.
“It also demonstrates the wrong decisions taken by Nicola Sturgeon while she was health secretary and her string of failed SNP successors.
“The First Minister should be ashamed of her SNP government’s record on health.
“Record funding from the UK Conservative Government for health has not seen the reforms or improvements required as the nationalists have run out of any vision to take forward our NHS and seem simply stuck in fire-fighting mode.”
Despite SNP pledge, antidepressant prescribing up 50%
The Scottish Conservatives have called for the SNP to reduce waiting times for mental health patients and reduce antidepressant reliance as figures show that the dispensing of antidepressants has increased by 48 per cent since the SNP has been in office.
The SNP has promised to reduce antidepressant use, however, the trend shows that under the SNP reliance on the drugs has been dramatically increasing.
“Prescribing Statistics - Medicines used in Mental Health” published by ISD Scotland today, show that the number of patients prescribed antidepressants has increased from 633,762 in 2009/10 to 936,269 in 2018/19, a rise of almost 50 per cent.
In addition, for four out of the five groups of mental health drugs there are substantially more drugs dispensed to females than males; 613,539 women are currently being prescribed anti-depressants, while 322,730 men are receiving the drugs.
Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative mental health spokesman said:
“There will always be a place for the use of antidepressants in the treatment of mental illness, but these figures demonstrate a staggering increase in dependence on these drugs.
“The SNP’s attempts to reduce antidepressant use have been completely unsuccessful.
“At the same time as this shocking increase in antidepressant use, mental health waiting times, particularly for young people, are also out of control.
“The worrying difference between antidepressant usage in women and men must be understood and addressed.
“We know that Scotland is in the grip of a mental health crisis yet, by their own measure, the SNP is totally failing mental health patients.
“The SNP must fulfil their promises; reduce waiting times for mental health patients and ensure that GPs can prescribe a range of mental health interventions, not simply rely on antidepressants.”
Notes – the full information can be found here -