Responding to new figures published by National Records of Scotland showing that an estimated 256 people died while experiencing homelessness in Scotland in 2020, an increase of 40 deaths when compared to the previous year, Scottish Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Willie Rennie said:
"It is a national shame that so many homeless people have died and that there has been another shocking increase. It looks like Scotland will continue to have the highest rate of deaths in the whole of the UK.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said patients and NHS staff desperately "need new hope" after statistics revealed that 126,000 people are waiting for key diagnostic tests and waiting lists are getting much worse.
Public Health Scotland statistics published today show:
126,000 patients were waiting to be seen for eight key diagnostic tests at the end of September - an increase of 10,000 since June with the waiting list now 42% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
More than four in ten patients waiting at 30 September for these key tests were waiting longer than the 6-week standard (42% compared to 37% at the end of June).
The waiting list for procedures under the First Minister's legally binding 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee increased by a further 9.3% between June and September 2021, and now stands at over 100,000.
The Treatment Time Guarantee was breached for 80,000 patients (patients seen during the quarter or still waiting at its end).
Performance against the 4-hour A&E waiting time declined again in the week ending 21 November.
Responding to the First Minister's Covid briefing, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
"I understand the worry and dismay that so many will be feeling at the emergence of a new variant.
"For months I have been arguing that the contact tracing system is not sufficiently rigorous and well-resourced to break chains of infection. We were lucky that vaccines arrived when they did because otherwise the system would have completely collapsed. This was a huge failure on the part of Scottish ministers.
Responding to today's funding package for GPs, health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
"As someone who has been advocating for multidisciplinary teams for some time, I think that bringing the likes of physiotherapy and mental health support into GP surgeries is a step in the direction.
"The real risk however is that only GP surgeries that can find the staff can move ahead with these plans. There are still major issues with recruitment and retention across our NHS and not enough movement on the part of the government to solve these issues.
Responding to the First Minister's interview on The Andrew Marr Show, where she was challenged about the crisis in emergency care, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
"Experts including Nicola Sturgeon's health chief of six years say this emergency care crisis would have happened even without covid. The situation is much worse than it needed to be because warnings were ignored for years.
The Liberal Democrats have today called for urgent measures to support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), including a formal return and improvement of the shielding programme.
The Government has so far failed to announce any specific measures for those who were classed as CEV in spite of their increased risk of serious illness from Covid. It comes after two cases of the newly discovered 'Omicron' variant of Covid were reported in the UK.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said that the Scottish Government must offer new hope to long Covid sufferers as he set out proposals to remobilise volunteers and give people more options for treatment by expanding social prescribing.
Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them to a range of community and non-clinical services at no cost to the patient.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called for an inquiry into avoidable emergency care deaths after new analysis of these life and death services was published for the first time.
The Scottish Ambulance Service have announced that they are to provide weekly updates on unscheduled care incidents.
Responding to Kate Forbes' comments on Good Morning Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
"It is depressingly obvious that the SNP cares more about pushing another independence referendum than your parent's operation, your partner's job, or your child's education.
"The Finance Secretary says the coming days will be dominated by independence. That's the story of the last fourteen years and the impact of that ministerial distraction can be seen in every corner of our public services.
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