Poll reveals most Scots think SNP ‘not doing enough’ to meet NHS targets

More than half of those surveyed for an exclusive Scotland on Sunday poll think the Scottish Government are not doing enough to meet their own health targets.
A hospital ward. Pic: Peter Byrne/PA WireA hospital ward. Pic: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A hospital ward. Pic: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Censuswide Scotland opinion poll findings showed that 52.5 per cent out of the 1,000 people who took part from across all age ranges and areas of the country, believe not enough is being done to address issues such as Accident & Emergency waiting times and bed blocking.

This increased to 63.7 per cent in the 55 plus age range, highlighting how health becomes a greater priority as we get older.

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The latest A&E figures saw just 88.2 per cent of patients seen and treated within the four-hour target – meaning 3,141 waited longer.

Modern medical objects of hospital doctor isolated on white backgroundModern medical objects of hospital doctor isolated on white background
Modern medical objects of hospital doctor isolated on white background

The last time the Scottish Government waiting time target of 95 per cent was met was 18 months ago in July 2017.

Delayed discharges, also known as bed blocking, worsened, with 43,732 bed days lost to it in December – a 2 per cent increase on December 2017.

Other key findings from the six questions asked of the 377 men and 623 female participants in the survey include 53.4 per cent of the opinion that people who require hospital treatment related to lifestyle issues, such as excessive alcohol use, should be made to pay for their medical care.

More than 60 per cent (61.8 per cent) of those in the 25-34 age group thought people should pay for conditions linked to factors like smoking and obesity.

The Scottish Government’s own figures from their Information Services Division show there were 36,235 alcohol-related hospital stays in 2016/17, with alcohol costing the health service in Scotland £267 million a year. There were 1,265 deaths with alcohol as the underlying cause, an increase of 115 compared with 2015.

The survey showed that despite five deaths linked to hospital acquired infection within Scotland’s largest health board – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – since December, a majority of people, 81.1 per cent, felt either “very safe” or “somewhat safe” being treated in a Scottish hospital.

The issue of private healthcare was covered in the question “Would you be willing to pay towards healthcare at point of delivery?” with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents saying no to contributing.

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Opposition parties were quick to seize on the survey as evidence of SNP Government failings.

Scottish Conservative health spokesperson, Miles Briggs, said: “The results of the Scotland on Sunday health poll clearly demonstrate that after 12 years in power Scots have lost confidence in the SNP to run our NHS and health services.

“The SNP have missed all but one of the health targets they set themselves.

“With more and more Scots finding they and their loved ones are waiting longer than ever for treatments with the SNP’s shambolic mismanagement of waiting lists, acute shortages of nurses, and the near impossibility of securing a GP appointment, it is little wonder the public now questions the ability of this SNP government to deliver on anything.”

Labour shadow cabinet secretary for health, Monica Lennon, said the figures show it was time for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and the rest of the Scottish Government to “end the complacency and finally give our health service the support it needs”.

She added: “Our hospitals do not have enough staff and patients are being let down as a result. Labour would invest in our public services like the NHS so staff are supported and patients get the care they deserve.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are leading the way in the UK with innovative public health policies supporting people to eat more healthily, be more active, stop smoking and drink sensibly, helping them live longer and healthier lives.

“We’re committed to keeping our health service true to its founding principles of being free at the point of need, publicly owned and delivered. Prescriptions are free in Scotland, and will remain free as they are nothing more than a tax on ill health.

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“Over the next 30 months we will deliver our £850m plan to sustainably improve NHS waiting times, fast-tracking those requiring urgent treatment, those who have a suspicion of cancer, and those who have waited the longest for an appointment.

“Satisfaction with the NHS in Scotland remains high, with 90 per cent of hospital inpatients in the most recent Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey reporting their overall hospital care and treatment to be good or excellent.”