– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th January 2023.
5. To ask the Scottish Government when non-urgent elective operations will resume in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. (S6O-01816)
I have been clear that health boards can and should take the necessary steps to prioritise and protect critical and life-saving care if that is deemed necessary. Local health boards, healthcare professionals and clinicians are best placed to judge what reasonable measures should be taken in each board area to manage the severe pressures.
Like other boards, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has taken the decision to pause non-urgent elective procedures to ensure that those with urgent healthcare needs, including cancer, are prioritised. That decision was not taken lightly and it is under constant review. I spoke with senior management at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and they assured me that they are monitoring the situation daily.
I expect that, where there has been an impact on non-urgent elective operations in a health board area, they will be resumed as soon as possible.
In the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, there are something like 11,000 patients waiting more than a year and nearly 2,000 waiting more than two years for elective surgery, which is an increase of almost 50 per cent since the current cabinet secretary took office. C an he offer clarification of whether urgent and day-case surgery is still going ahead in Glasgow? I know of patients who have had urgent procedures cancelled at the last minute. Given that day surgery does not require overnight beds, can he explain what is going on?
I say again that it is non-urgent elective surgery that has been paused. If Jackie Baillie or any other member knows of cases that are deemed urgent in which procedures have been cancelled, I am happy to raise them with the health board. Equally, Jackie Baillie can raise those issues herself, and she will get an explanation as to why those elective procedures have been cancelled.
Non-urgent elective surgery is cancelled for out-patients as well. That decision was taken locally. We spoke about that with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde today. The ability to free up beds and staff can be very important, as staff may have to be relocated to busy sites and wards such as those in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
I give an absolute assurance to Jackie Baillie and other members who have similar concerns about not only NHS
Greater Glasgow and Clyde but other health boards that have made similar decisions that the pause will not be in place for a second longer than it has to be. The decision is under daily review. I am happy for Jackie Baillie to pass on any individual constituency-related concerns that she has, and I will raise them with the health board.