5 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • More than 1,800 people stuck in hospital
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP cut £30m from mental health despite missing targets yet again
  • Lib Dems reveal some of the biggest nationalist failures on the international stage
  • Lib Dem Mayoral candidate beats cancer

More than 1,800 people stuck in hospital

Responding to new Public Health Scotland figures which show 1,860 people were stuck in hospital due to their discharge being delayed, with 57,860 days being spent in hospital by people waiting to be discharged, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

Amid a chaotic turnover of SNP health secretaries, the Scottish Government has completely failed to tackle core problems that are leaving far too many languishing in hospital wards.

People should never have to wait weeks or months in hospital for a care home place or help to return home.

The SNP’s ill-fated centralisation of social care will do absolutely nothing to ease pressures. This billion-pound bureaucracy must be scrapped, not salved.

Scottish Liberal Democrats would devote that money to frontline services and staff instead, driving up the quality of care and rewarding staff with better pay and conditions.

Cole-Hamilton: SNP cut £30m from mental health despite missing targets yet again

Scottish Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton has today said that the future for young people’s mental healthcare is grim, after new figures revealed that the referral to treatment target for child and adolescent mental health services was missed yet again.

New figures from Public Health Scotland show that for the quarter ending December 2023:

  • 83.8% of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks of referral. The Scottish Government standard states that 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.
  • 4,531 children and young people started treatment at CAMHS in Scotland. This is a 3.3% decrease from the 4,686 starting treatment in the previous quarter, and a 19.7% decrease from the 5,641 starting treatment in the quarter ending December 2022.
  • 5,517 children and young people were waiting to start treatment at quarter ending December 2023 which is an increase of 3.2% (173) compared to 5,344 in the previous quarter.

The Scottish Government recently announced a £30m cut to mental health services in the this year’s budget.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

The SNP have never met their own target for ensuring children and young people get access to mental healthcare.

With a £30m cut to services, prospects for young people on the mental health waiting list are grim.

My party has spent years pressing the government about the importance of putting mental health practitioners into surgeries in every corner of Scotland, cutting waiting lists and improving access to mental health support.

Scotland needs world-class mental health services. Scottish Liberal Democrats will deliver them. That’s why we’ve just set out plans to increase the tax paid by the social media giants – a move that could help fund more mental health support in schools and get more professionals close to where you live.

Lib Dems reveal some of the biggest nationalist failures on the international stage

As the SNP bring a debate on Scotland’s place in the world to Parliament this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MSP has today revealed some of the biggest failures by the SNP and Greens on the world stage.

The list of the nationalists’ international failures, which Mr Rennie will read out in the chamber this afternoon, is as follows:

  1. Nicola Sturgeon personally signed a deal with China Railway No.3 Engineering Group (CR3) during at a meeting at Bute House. No due diligence was done and it was discovered that CR3 had been blacklisted by the Norwegian state pension fund for gross corruption and were found by Amnesty International to have connections to human rights abuses.
  2. Chinese company SinoFortone were also signatories of the same £10 billion deal – later described as “all bollocks” by the chief fixer after it was revealed they only owned a pub in the Cotswolds
  3. Scottish Liberal Democrat research in 2022 uncovered that at least 49 public bodies in Scotland were still unaware of the Scottish Government’s human rights tests introduced following those deals with Chinese companies.
  4. The Scottish Government continues to use Chinese surveillance cameras, a year after pledging to remove them over security concerns.
  5. Former First Minister Alex Salmond kowtowed to China by refusing to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Scotland, personally assuring the Chinese ambassador that it had nothing to do with him.
  6. On a trip to China, Alex Salmond got an official to buy him a pair of £250 tartan trews because he’d left his own at home. He then tried to claim the trews on expenses and cover it up from the taxpayer.
  7. In 2014, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Crimea, Alex Salmond said he had a “certain admiration” for Vladimir Putin, saying that his restoring Russian pride “must be a good thing.”
  8. Alex Salmond hosted a long-running show on Kremlin propaganda channel, Russia Today.
  9. Alex Salmond agreed to front a new television show on the Turkish channel TRT – described by critics as a “propaganda arm” of the Turkish regime.
  10. Current First Minister, Humza Yousaf, courted President Erdogan, inviting him to Scotland despite concerns about civil liberties and human rights abuses.
  11. In 2013, as International Development Minister, Humza Yousaf visited Qatar in 2013 but failed to raise the case of imprisoned poet, Mohammed al-Ajami, despite visiting a poetry festival in the region.
  12. SNP minister, Fergus Ewing, held an unrecorded dinner with disgraced Australian banker Lex Greensill amid financial deals that have exposed taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.
  13. Dodged questions about whether Government-owned Prestwick Airport was once used for US rendition flights, the subject of a 10-year long investigation.
  14. The SNP wants an independent Scotland to join nuclear alliance NATO while simultaneously rejecting nuclear weapons.
  15. Breaching international minimum standards on the age of criminal responsibility
  16. In 2015, the Scottish Greens passed a motion at their conference calling for Hamas to be taken off the international terror list.
  17. Pledges to create a Peace Institute, before cancelling the whole project because they’d run out of money.

Mr Rennie said:

Whether they’re praising Putin, getting duped by Chinese firms, removing Hamas from the terrorist list or flirting with Erdogan, the nationalists and greens embarrass Scotland on the world stage.

People need a government that can help them see a GP, bring down bills and ensure their children get the education they need to succeed. They’re fed up with a government that lets standards slip whilst playing dress-up diplomat.

Lib Dem Mayoral candidate beats cancer

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie has today celebrated his final cancer treatment today and called for quicker treatment for those diagnosed with the disease.

Rob’s left kidney was removed in February last year after tests revealed it was cancerous. His treatment included scans and immunotherapy therapy transfusions every six weeks at Guy’s hospital.

Speaking outside Guy’s Cancer Centre with his wife, Tam, Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate Rob Blackie said:

Finally completing the treatment is wonderful. I am very grateful to the team here and the incredible advances in medical science. I am also thankful for having the love and support of my wife and two children, who have been brilliant.

Immunotherapy basically turns your immune system up to 11. I had minimal side effects, so it hasn’t really impacted my life.

But I’m aware that many people are not as fortunate, which is why I back the Liberal Democrat policy of a legal guarantee for cancer patients to start treatment within two months of an urgent referral. Currently 40% of patients wait longer than 62 days, which is far too long. We must do better.

This is not the first time Rob Blackie has won through a medical emergency. The press recently dubbed him the ‘bionic man’ after he was given a titanium neck following a brutal mugging in 2003.

Speaking about the past neck injury, Rob added:

My C5 vertebra was completely destroyed to the extent that my head was just floating on my neck. The doctors said it could have killed me. Surviving this attack spurred me on to want to do more to tackle violent crime in the capital, which would be my top priority as Mayor.

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