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Humza Yousaf to make NHS statement as sector braces for ‘challenging’ winter

The Health Secretary is due to address MSPs on Tuesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Health Secretary is due to address MSPs on Tuesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland’s Health Secretary will make a statement on NHS planning for the winter as he said the coming months will be “extremely challenging”.

Humza Yousaf will address MSPs on Tuesday, detailing measures the Scottish Government will take to support the health care system over the winter, as well as updating on progress of the NHS recovery plan announced last year.

His statement at Holyrood will come in the hours after official figures on A&E waiting times and delayed discharges are released – areas where the health service has struggled in recent months.

Before the statement, Mr Yousaf said: “As we enter the winter period it is vital that we maximise and enhance the capacity of the NHS.

“Given the scale of the escalating cost-of-living crisis, combined with the continued uncertainty posed by Covid and a possible resurgence of flu, the winter ahead will be extremely challenging for services.

“Later today I will outline measures we are taking to support winter resilience across our health and care system, ensuring people get the right care they need at the right time and in the most appropriate setting.

“I will also provide our first annual update on the progress of our NHS recovery plan.

“Our NHS and social care staff are key to ensuring we deliver high-quality care for the public throughout winter and I would like to thank them for their continued efforts in the face of sustained pressure on our services.”

Mr Yousaf has been under pressure in recent months to improve the performance of the NHS, with the number of people in A&E being seen within the four-hour standard set by government rising from a record low of 63.5% to 66.2% in figures released last week.

The statistics had been in decline since the middle of last year.

Delayed discharges rose by 8% to a daily average of 1,806 people in July compared with June and now sit above the pre-pandemic number.