Nicola Sturgeon squirms after grilling by Anas Sarwar
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Anas Sarwar lambasted Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Question after he pointed out the current Scottish NHS waiting list has soared to over 600,000 people and demanded answers for it. But Mr Sarwar sneakily used Ms Sturgeon’s words against her after he pointed out the SNP leader blasted Labour’s waiting list of 84,000 in back in 2003 and wondered if she thought the current number was also a “humiliation”. Ms Sturgeon attempted to sidestep the question by stating the Scottish Government was investing in the NHS and would seek to cut down the wait which she said had risen because of the pandemic.
Speaking in Holyrood, Mr Sarwar attacked Ms Sturgeon over the Scottish Government’s NHS record as waiting lists continued to grow.
He told the chamber: “For the past 18 months our NHS staff have performed remarkably under pressure.
“I know everyone in this chamber agrees, but even before this pandemic they were undervalued, under-resourced and overworked.
“This week we have seen the number of people on NHS waiting lists rise to over 600,000.
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“Does the First Minister agree that this is a humiliation for the SNP and a tragedy for the tens of thousands of patients languishing on ever-lengthening lists?”
A nervous-looking Ms Sturgeon attempted to deflect the attack and replied: “It is the responsibility of the government to support the NHS and help NHS staff get through what is an extremely challenging situation for countries across the world.
“Most people I think recognise that we are in a global pandemic that has had a significant impact on our national health service.
“Anas Sarwar is right to say that there were challenges in our national health service before Covid.
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“But as we can see from the waiting times improvement plan that was in place there, waiting times were starting to be reduced by the investment that we had made.
“Obviously we all know the impact that Covid has had on the national health service.”
Mr Sarwar said blaming the pandemic was “disingenuous, disrespectful and frankly dangerous” as he said the issues were already emerging before Covid.
He said earlier in the proceedings: “In 2003, Nicola Sturgeon was saying a list of over 84,000 people was a humiliation.
“What we are talking about today is a list of over 600,000.
“These long lists are meaning more complicated cases presenting at A&E.
“This month, the worst A&E waiting times since records began – 24,000 of our fellow citizens waiting more than four hours, 4,000 of our fellow citizens waiting over eight hours and almost 1,000 of our fellow citizens waiting over 12 hours while ambulances are queueing outside hospitals.”
According to the Daily Record, as of June 30, as many as 115,253 patients were awaiting a diagnostic test – 30.3 per cent higher than the average before the pandemic.
The World Health Organisation also state eight of the top 20 Covid hotspots in Europe are in Scotland.
NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde sit in first and second respectively in the league table of worst-hit regions across the continent.
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