An article in the Sunday Times today reveals the deplorable state of Scotland's health Service.
The results of an investigation by doctors at Glasgow University have shown that 462,000 people died unnecessarily in Scotland between 1974 and 2003. Much of the blame for this excess death rate is laid at the door of the health service itself with the suggestion that the deaths would not have occurred had there been timely and effective health care.
Scotland spends more than any other European nation on Health Care but according to the study the excess death rate for men in Scotland is 176 per 100,000 compared to 159 in Portugal and 100 in Italy. For women the rate is 123 per 100,000 compared to 106 in Portugal, 85 in Austria and 76 in Italy.
The study showed that between 1981 - 2004 almost a quarter of a million excess deaths occurred due to poor quality care, delays in treatment or deprivation.
These figures must act as a wake up call to the Health Services in Scotland. It is clear that despite significant amounts of money having been poured into the system - much of it on GP and other wages, there are still major organisational weaknesses in the system which have not been addressed. The people of Scotland have a right to much better than this and those who run the health Service must be held to account and demonstrate that major, and successful, efforts will be made to resolve these problems. Frankly when surgeons and GP's and nurses have had significant pay rises these findings are a major scandal.