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FMQs: Sturgeon defends Yousaf's handling of SNP NHS crisis

Nicola Sturgeon today defended Humza Yousaf’s handling of the crisis in Scotland’s NHS, while she accepted that 60 people per week were needlessly dying.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross highlighted reports that there were now 60 avoidable deaths in Scotland’s NHS each week, according to BMA Scotland.

The Scottish Conservative leader raised a case where an 80-year-old man with a broken neck waited 12 and a half hours for an ambulance despite his family phoning 999 on seven occasions.

He challenged Nicola Sturgeon on “patient-blaming language” after she claimed that there were too many “unnecessary attendances” at accident and emergency departments in Scotland.

Scottish Conservative analysis found that fewer people attended A&E in the first week of this year than in the same week in 2020, 2019, 2018 or 2017.

Yet A&E performance is at the worst levels ever recorded.

Yesterday, Dr Lailah Peel, deputy chair of BMA Scotland, criticised the government’s claims about “unnecessary attendances”.

Dr Peel said the government’s criticism “shows a lack of understanding of the current crisis” and that “exit block is the problem in A&E”.

Douglas Ross also raised the concerns of nurses at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde cancelled all non-urgent procedures last night.

Nicola Sturgeon denied reports today from an NHS whistleblower who said nurses were working 24-hour shifts at the QEUH.

They said: “We are struggling to cope. In short, we’re struggling to provide first world care in what feels like a third world environment.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “No matter what Nicola Sturgeon claims, the problem is not too many people attending A&E. The problem is the SNP Government’s handling of the crisis in Scotland’s NHS.

“The blame lies with her government and her health secretary, not patients.

“It’s apparent that Humza Yousaf has completely failed to prepare for the serious issues in our NHS.

“The SNP Government has known about the huge issues affecting our NHS for years.

“They were failing before Covid and now it’s worse than ever.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s only solution is to blame everyone else.

“It’s laughable that she claims the health secretary shouldn’t take any criticism for the issues in our health service.

“Humza Yousaf is making the situation worse, not better. He has not got to grips with this crisis whatsoever. His failures are putting lives at risk.

“We’re now losing 60 people every single week who could have been saved.

“For the good of patients across the country, Nicola Sturgeon must sack Humza Yousaf.”