Over 35,000 Scots waiting over a year for operation on NHS


THE number of patients waiting over a year for an operation has continued to increase, as figures show elective activity on the NHS remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

It comes amid record A&E waits and warnings from health chiefs in NHS Lanarkshire that bed shortages have “become a patient safety issue”.

The latest statistics for Scotland show that 73,589 planned procedures were carried out between April and the end of July this year, compared to more than 101,200 over the same period in 2019 – a reduction of 27 per cent.

HeraldScotland: Elective activity - planned inpatient and day case procedures - have remained largely static for the past year (Source: PHS)Elective activity – planned inpatient and day case procedures – have remained largely static for the past year (Source: PHS)

Although there was a small improvement in July, the figures covering the first four months of 2022/23 – which had been billed as year one of the NHS remobilisation – also show that the number of patients undergoing an elective procedure remain 1% down on the same period in 2021.

The Scottish Government’s NHS Recovery Plan, published in August last year, had envisaged an extra 27,500 inpatient and day case elective procedures taking place on NHS Scotland during 2022/23 – equivalent to a 10% increase on pre-pandemic activity.

ANALYSIS: Can we really say the NHS is in recovery from Covid when the numbers of planned operations have barely changed?

Successive Covid waves – driven by increasingly transmissible Omicron strains – have been blamed for slowing efforts to clear treatment backlogs by causing staff absences and reducing bed availability.

However, shortfalls in social care have also exacerbated the problem. Figures for July show a record 1,828 beds per day being “blocked” by patients well enough to leave hospital, but who are delayed – typically for around three weeks – due to the lack of a care home place or social care package.

HeraldScotland: The number of beds lost to delayed discharge rose to a new record high in July (Source: PHS) The number of beds lost to delayed discharge rose to a new record high in July (Source: PHS)

Meanwhile, figures on waiting lists, also published by Public Health Scotland, show that the number of people who have been waiting for an inpatient or day case procedure on the NHS for over a year had increased to 35,359 by the end of June this year – up by more than 4000 since the end of March.

The number who had been waiting over two years had reduced slightly – by 356 – over the same period, to 10,066.

Pre-pandemic, in March 2020, there were only 98 patients in Scotland on inpatient and day case lists who had been waiting over two years.

In July, the Scottish Government had set a target to eradicate nearly all two-year waits for inpatient and day case treatment by the end of August.

READ MORE: Fewer operations in 2022 compared to 2021 – amid delays to new elective hubs

However, a majority of health boards – with the exception of Tayside, Highland and Forth Valley – said they did not expect to meet that deadline.

Pressure on A&E departments – a red flag for lack of bed availability in hospitals – also worsened in July, with figures showing that a record 4,483 patients spent over 12 hours in emergency departments.

That compares to 784 in July 2021, and an average of 99 pre-pandemic.

Dr John-Paul Loughrey, vice chair of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said the figures “should ring alarm bells to all political and health leaders”.

He added: “The depth and scale of this crisis is deeply concerning. Patients are already coming to harm, a consequence of long and dangerous waiting times.

“These data must be a call to action, especially as winter is fast approaching.”

HeraldScotland: The number of patients been seen, treated, and discharged or admitted within the four-hour A&E target fell to a new low in July (Source: PHS)The number of patients been seen, treated, and discharged or admitted within the four-hour A&E target fell to a new low in July (Source: PHS)

Judith Park, director of acute services at NHS Lanarkshire, said all three of the region’s hospitals have been over-capacity for weeks and the situation facing its A&E departments “has become even bleaker at the start of this week, with patients waiting in excess of 12 hours to be seen and assessed due to the overwhelming demand”.

She added: “Once these patients are eventually seen, a lack of bed capacity and the lack of flow through the hospital means there is additional pressure in admitting these patients who require emergency care in an overcrowded setting.

“When we experience an exceptionally high rate of emergency admissions, we work as a clinical network to divert some patients to another NHS Lanarkshire hospital where it is clinically appropriately to do so.

“However, this hasn’t been possible due to the pressures being faced across all three sites.

“Given the current situation in our hospitals, this has become a patient safety issue.”

READ MORE: NHS Ayrshire buys private hospital in bid to clear orthopaedic backlogs

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said health boards are working to clear backlogs “as quickly as possible”, and stressed that the statistics on elective care show that “patients with the greatest needs were treated quickest”.

He added: “We recognise the impact long waiting times can have and this is why we announced ambitious waiting times targets in early July to address the backlog of planned care and are working hard with NHS Boards to maximise capacity in order to meet these.”





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Kenny Logan’s prostate cancer diagnosis ‘was a huge shock’



FORMER Scotland winger Kenny Logan has revealed he has been treated for prostate cancer.

The 50-year-old said the diagnosis had come out of the blue and he had surgery earlier this year.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he recalled: “I got a wellness check and sat down with the guy. He said to me: ‘Everything’s fine, your hormones are fine but your prostate is high.’

“I got checked and very quickly, within three or four months, I had biopsies. There was something there but we’d just keep an eye on it.

“This year, February 7, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was a huge shock. I ended up deciding to take it out so I’m three months since the operation, had the prostate out and I’m probably 95% back to normal.

“It was hard because when you’re told you’ve got cancer… I didn’t see it coming. No symptoms whatsoever.”





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Revealed: More than 800 suicides in Scots aged 10 to 24


MISSED “warning signs” may have contributed to hundreds of suicides in young Scots, according to a new report.

Between 2011 and 2020, a total of 820 people aged 10 to 24 took their own lives in Scotland, making suicide the leading cause of death for this age group, according to Public Health Scotland (PHS).

The figures include 30 probable suicides in children aged 10 to 14, as well as 260 in the 15 to 19 age group.

It comes as psychiatrists warned that the Scottish Government has “fallen far short” on its child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) targets.

The latest figures show that just over two thirds (68.4 per cent) of children and teenagers were seen within 18 weeks of referral in the three months to the end of June this year.

The target is 90%.

HeraldScotland: Suicides as a proportion of all deaths, by age group, 2011-2020 (NB: no suicides in children under 10)Suicides as a proportion of all deaths, by age group, 2011-2020 (NB: no suicides in children under 10)

Suicides in the 10 to 24 age group peaked at 113 in 2019, before dipping to 90 in 2020.

Over the decade, the suicide rate for this age group fell between 2011 and 2015, but more than doubled – from 4.4 to 9.2 per 100,000 – between 2015 and 2019.

Stephen Platt, emeritus professor of health policy research at Edinburgh University and chair of the Scottish Suicide Information Database (ScotSID) Steering Group, said the findings “[reinforce] the need for preventative action in this age group”.

He added that while this compares to a suicide rate of 17.5 deaths per 100,000 in the over-25 age group in Scotland, those under-25 were “significantly less likely” to have had contact with healthcare services prior to ending their lives.

READ MORE: Samaritans target ‘positive’ new campaign to men living in rural areas 

Writing in the PHS report, Prof Platt said that a “sizeable minority” of this at-risk population may have missed out on help when they most needed it.

He said: “It is possible that they may have felt unable to express those needs for a variety of reasons, and that they, and those close to them, may not have recognised the warning signs, including psychological distress and symptoms of mental ill-health, which would increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.”

In the 15-19 age group, nearly one in three (29%) had received a mental health drug prescription and 7% had had contact with psychiatric inpatient services in the year prior to their death, while 25% had been to A&E up to 90 days before their death.

HeraldScotland: The suicide rate fell peaked in 2019 before declining again NB: age group given as 5-24, but no suicides occurred in under-10s (Source: PHS)The suicide rate fell peaked in 2019 before declining again NB: age group given as 5-24, but no suicides occurred in under-10s (Source: PHS)

By 2020, the suicide rate for under-25s from the poorest parts of Scotland was 12.5 per 100,000 compared to 5.1 per 100,000 in the most affluent communities.

However, the report highlights as an anomaly the fact that, within the most affluent group, the suicide rate was 1.4 times higher among those aged 10-24 compared to their counterparts over-25.

Prof Platt said this “warrants further investigation”, but stressed that the overall trend of suicide rates increasing in line with higher levels of deprivation “should not be overlooked”.

READ MORE: Is junk food to blame for rise in bowel cancer among youbg people?

Commenting on the waiting times figures, Dr Helen Smith, chair of the CAMHS Faculty for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said the service is expected “to meet increased demand for support with the same the capacity”.

She added: “We need investment in mental health support services at all levels needs to be sustained and planned.

“After coming out of a pandemic and with all the problems the cost-of-living crisis will have on people’s mental health, we need the Scottish Government to focus on CAMHS and outline how they will meet their own target by 2026.”

Mental health minister Kevin Stewart said the Government is “working to reduce the suicide rate” and has allocated an additional £40 million to health boards to improve CAMHS, including reducing waiting list backlogs and establishing access to out of hours CAMHS assessments.

A new Suicide Prevention Strategy will also be published later this month.





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Scottish Child Payment to increase to £25-a-week: Am I eligible?



NICOLA Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish Child Payment will increase from £20-a-week to £25.

The payment for low-income families for children under the age of six has paid out £84 million since being launched in February last year and now benefits over 100,000 children.

The increase will take place in November and the payments will be open to all eligible children under 16.

The rise comes after the Scottish Government doubled the original £10-per-week allowance to £20 back in April.

 

When will the change come into effect?
 

 

The Scottish Government announced that the change will come into effect on November 14. 

 

What has Nicola Sturgeon said about it?

 

 

The First Minister said: “The Scottish Child Payment is unique to Scotland, the most ambitious child poverty reduction measure in the UK and an important action to mitigate the growing cost emergency. 

“We doubled the payment to £20 per week per child in April and the further increase to £25 from November means a rise of 150% in less than eight months.

“Around 104,000 children currently in receipt of Scottish Child Payment will have it automatically increased to £25 per week. All new eligible under 16s will also benefit from the £25 rate, with all payments backdated to the date their application is received.”

 

Who can apply?

 

 

You can apply for the Scottish Child Payment if you live in Scotland, if you or your partner are in receipt of a qualifying benefit (Universal Credit, Legacy Benefits and/or Pension Credit) and you or your partner are the main person looking after a child who’s under 6 years old or up to under 16 from November 14.





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Tayside period dignity officer role axed after ‘threats and abuse’



A Tayside working group has scrapped its period dignity officer role just weeks after the appointment of a man prompted a backlash. 

The Period Dignity Working Group, which comprises Dundee and Angus College, Angus Council, Dundee City Council and Perth College, previously defended its selection stating Jason Grant was “the strongest candidate”. 

The group came under fire for selecting a man with tennis star Martina Navratilova describing it as “f*****g ridiculous”.

However, the role will now be axed after “threats and abuse” was targeted at individuals involved in recent weeks. 

Instead, the Tayside group will explore alternatives to deliver the services the period dignity officer would be in charge of. 

It will also ensure support is available for students and staff who have faced “personal attack”.

A spokesperson added that their safety and wellbeing is of “paramount importance”. 

“It is regrettable that given the threats and abuse levelled at individuals in recent weeks, the Period Dignity Regional Lead Officer role will not continue,” the spokesperson said. 

“The working group is now looking closely at alternative ways to deliver these vital services in line with the legal requirements of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021.

“Meanwhile, support will continue to be provided to the colleagues and students who have been subjected to personal attack.

“Their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance. 

“The group’s joint work to provide free period products is rooted in kindness. We, therefore, ask that the same spirit of kindness is extended to those involved, and that their privacy is respected.”





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Discover the secrets of successful hair transplants with Seneca


Seneca Medical Group has stood the test of time and keep thriving with 35 years of experience – with successful clinics in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The company is constantly evolving and empowering their position driven by the mission and the values they began with – which have granted them an international reputation.

To date, the company has treated over 43,000 hairloss patients and more than 160 doctors and nurses have been trained and certified in hair restoration treatments and procedures.

HeraldScotland: SenecaSeneca

With the extensive research, proper diagnosis, structured training, and effective treatment, Seneca Medical Group holds the first place in innovations in the hair restoration field and is constantly developing new techniques and tools for the treatment of hair loss.

The certified specialists of Seneca Medical Group contribute to the design and implementation of a personalized treatment program.

Dealing with alopecia is a timeless demand for all those who experience it. Some, sooner or later come to terms with their new image but others  are in constant search of solutions – until they choose the path of hair transplantation.

HeraldScotland: SenecaSeneca

In this context, we asked Seneca Medical Group to tell us the points that in terms of hair transplantation are not widely known.

How is hair transplantation performed? In hair transplantation, healthy hair follicles are taken from the back of the patient’s head, which are individually implanted in the area where thinning occurs. Seneca’s highly trained staff achieves the implantation of even 9,000 hairs per session!

HeraldScotland: SenecaSeneca

How effective is it? Well, it is the most effective method of treating hair loss as its effects last forever. Thousands of patients who trusted Seneca confirm this.

it is also seen in the hair of celebrities such as Ronald de Boer, Wayne Rooney, Gordon Ramsey, Lewis Hamilton and many others.

To some the shaved head is nice but no one wants to feel bad about their external appearance, and hair loss is a condition that can affect psychology and limit sociability.

HeraldScotland: SenecaSeneca

A free diagnosis through the Total Care system will evaluate the problem, identify the causes and formulate a personalized treatment plan.

How simple is it? Seneca treatment is carried out in two stages. In the first, the hair follicles are checked, the healthy ones are selected and painlessly extracted.

HeraldScotland: SenecaSeneca

The isolated hair follicles are kept in appropriate conditions and temperature until their gradual replanting with Seneca Implanter begins in the second and final stage.

It is a procedure that can be done in a few hours and without hassle. The advantages of Seneca Medical Group include the specially-designed and patented tools and equipment through which the doctor implants directly the hair follicles giving 100% natural result and high density.

senecamd.com





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The Glasgow school bike bus is the future we need to see


WE couldn’t get the app to work so, instead of hiring a bike on Saturday in Malmö, I borrowed my friend’s.

I believe myself to be a pretty competent cyclist but this was a slapstick hoot – the saddle was so high that I had to take a run and a jump to land on it; once I got going I couldn’t readily stop without simply throwing myself to the ground; and everything in the middle was a precarious wobble.

If this had been Glasgow I would have been flattened in an instant. But this is Sweden, civilised, cycle-friendly Sweden.

Cars stopped for us, folk hopped out of the way with smiles at my “Sorry! Oh God, sorry!”

One of my closest friends lives in Malmö and every time I visit, I cycle around (normally more respectably) with heart aching for better infrastructure and better attitudes in Scotland.

READ MORE: After a woman’s death in Glasgow is cycling worth the risk?

The day before, I had been out in the morning with the Shawlands Bike Bus.

This is a sight to make the heart sing. In a perfect example of community activism, parents at Shawlands Primary School decided to club together and set up a bike bus after being inspired by both a trip to Denmark and seeing a similar initiative’s success in Barcelona.

Last year, when the scheme started on Glasgow’s south side, it was just a handful of families taking part. Now it’s swollen to a gaggle of around 60 children and parents, taking over the roads on the route to school every Friday morning.

HeraldScotland:

What makes the set-up workable is that the local authority listened to what parents needed and stepped up to provide it. Initially it was a case of donating high-vis vests and signage for the route. Then the community police turned out to cycle alongside the bike bus.

Now developers have come up with a way to repurpose existing tech to allow the leader of the bike bus to hold a traffic signal at a problematic junction.

A special button utilising weapons-grade signals can keep the light green for 45 seconds to allow everyone through. You say science, I say magic.

While not to be sniffed at, this is, of course, a stop gap. What’s really needed is permanent cycling infrastructure that de-prioritises cars and makes the roads safer for active travel.

As an imp on Twitter termed it, perhaps by the time these primary children are ready to cycle to university lectures we might have segregated bike lanes.

One of the reasons the junction was so problematic was that the people cycling were experiencing badly behaviour from those driving. If you’ve ever been on a bike in the city you’ll recognise it – close passes and loud horns honking.

You should see the bike bus. It’s a thing of real and pure joy. Lots of wee ones, lots of bright colours, lots of chattering and pedalling and giggles.

Imagine being so irked by that sight that you drive aggressively and freak small children out with horn honking.

READ MORE: The rise in cycling will need support to be maintained

But then, we’re experiencing a hostile age for cycling. I imagine it’s partly to do with the proliferation – as relatively and such as it is – of councils redirecting spending towards active travel. That, and the messaging that paints cyclists as virtuous, drivers as planet-killing.

People are easily irked and prone to a backlash. It makes it easy for lazy politicians to score lazy points, like Grant Shapps, Westminster transport secretary, calling for a review in insurance and ways to “actually track cyclists who do break the laws”.

Manna from right-wing heaven, that. The Daily Mail ran a front page story on introducing number plates for cyclists and making them “abide by the same speed restrictions and other road rules as motorists amid a cycling boom.” That’s a good use of civil servants’ time, drafting legislation to ensure cyclists don’t go at 70mph.

My Swedish friend cannot compute. It’s lost in translation.

Other Glasgow schools’ parent groups have contacted the city council for support in setting up their own bike buses. I’m hoping for a cycling revolution of city-wide weans wheeling around, car-free and care-free.

Maybe by the time they’re ready to cycle to university attitudes will have changed. They’re the generation who can change them, after all.

And the bike bus is such an ideal way to do this, starting them cycling on the roads young with the message being that they belong there, which they do.





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