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I have been contacted by a 72-year-old constituent in East Kilbride, Matthew Rodgers, who worked for 50 years as a nurse in the national health service, retiring at the age of 67. He has osteoarthritis and has been in pain for 15 years. Mr Rodgers has been told that he needs a new hip. He has also received a letter saying that the treatment time guarantee has been missed and he has no idea when he will be treated.
I visited Mr Rodgers on Sunday and asked to see any correspondence he has had, so he crawled upstairs and crawled back down backwards. He told me:
“I am at the stage where my life is totally on hold. I suffer daily. We are considering using the money we have set aside for our funerals to pay for treatment. That is difficult to bear.”
What can the First Minister say to Mr Rodgers and thousands like him for whom the treatment time guarantee has proved worthless?
In respect of Mr Rodgers, whenever an individual case is raised in this chamber, the health secretary is happy to look into it if details are provided. I thank
Mr Rodgers for his service to the NHS.
Of course, this is about not just individual cases that are raised in the chamber but patients across Scotland. We have embarked upon the waiting times improvement plan, backed by substantial resources—£850 million—because we recognise the increasing demand on our health service and are determined to support health boards to build capacity to meet that demand. That work is under way; the health secretary and I monitor it closely and carefully, and we will continue to do so.