FM was warned projections for extra NHS capacity ‘dropped significantly’

Uncertainty over the opening dates of new treatment centres impacted the health service recovery plan.

Humza Yousaf was warned projections for extra NHS capacity ‘dropped significantly’ STV News

Officials told Humza Yousaf in February that projections for the NHS recovery plan had “dropped significantly” amid uncertainty over the opening dates of new treatment centres, it has emerged.

Labour has published responses to freedom of information requests which show the Government’s discussions around national treatment centres (NTCs) – key parts of the plan to boost NHS capacity in the wake of the pandemic.

When the recovery plan was launched, the Scottish Government said these could lead to an additional 40,000 more planned operations and procedures to take place each year.

A series of emails show that in response to a report from Audit Scotland, then-health secretary Humza Yousaf’s office asked for figures on how much capacity the national treatment centres would provide this year.

In response, his office was told: “We have discussed with officials and they have advised against including a figure on capacity as projections included in the NHS Recovery Plan have dropped significantly and policy colleagues expect further fluctuation in capacity this year as NTCs continue to report their figures.”

A progress update document from August last year gave five national treatment centre projects “red” status due to “limited progress”.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, said: “Our NHS has been plunged into crisis by this SNP Government and what this revelation shows is that the SNP is unable to turn it around.

“Not content with crashing our health service, the SNP is now failing to deliver the modest recovery plan that it promised to implement.”

She continued: “Targets are being missed and progress is stalling while patients are forced to go private and the agency bill soars.

“SNP incompetence is threatening the very existence of our NHS.

“Michael Matheson must act now to support our valiant NHS staff and to undo the deadly legacy of Scotland’s worst ever health minister – Humza Yousaf.”

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