The health secretary has warned that the NHS in Scotland is facing an “exceptionally difficult winter”.
Accident and emergency waiting times are already at their worst level on record, with pressure on services expected to intensify in the coming months.
There are now calls for the Scottish Government to tackle the problems – and warnings that, without swift action, there will be unnecessary deaths.
It’s clear the health service is already under immense pressure and it has been for some time.
Recent figures for A&E waiting times show just 63.5% of patients were seen within the Scottish Government’s target of four hours.
That’s a record low – so highlights the seriousness of the situation just now.
We know that more people get ill in winter anyway, but on top of that are extra layers of pressure. That includes another possible Covid wave and the potential resurgence of flu.
Added to that, there’s a new threat this year – the effect of the cost-of-living crisis.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine in Scotland is warning that lives will be lost because of the waiting time delays.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf says the waiting time figures are “unacceptable” and he wants “immediate improvement”.
But he also says there’s no doubt this winter is going to be very difficult.
He’s expected to outline the Scottish Government’s winter plan in a statement to parliament in the coming weeks.