More than 800 children waiting for vital surgery because of covid restrictions - before the pandemic there were just 45
New figures show that at the end of March this year, 821 children had spent a year or more waiting for paediatric surgery - 12 months after the initial lockdown restrictions were introduced.
In stark contrast, by the end of March 2020 - when the coronavirus pandemic swept the UK - just 45 children in Scotland were waiting on surgeries.
A breakdown in the figures, from Public Health Scotland, show 629 kids are inpatients or day case admissions, while outpatient appointments make up the other 190.
The figures also show as recently as 2016, no child had waited longer than a year for surgery.
The analysis was carried out by parents group UFTScotland, which was founded in the wake of lockdown restrictions which were imposed across the country. The group currently has more than 14,000 members.
UFTScotland says the huge rise in the number of youngsters waiting for vital treatment shows the extent to which children had suffered during the period of Covid-19 restrictions, including school closures and exams chaos.
Jo Bisset, organiser for UFTScotland, sammed the figures as "shameful".
She said:“This is the latest revelation to show just how badly children suffered during lockdown.
“The harm caused by widespread and repeated school closures has been well documented.
“Now we can see some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland spent the whole of lockdown waiting for surgery.
“For many, this will have meant great physical pain and emotional uncertainty and anxiety.
“The whole country needs to reflect on how children were treated as we dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They have been robbed of so many vital experiences and social and learning opportunities, and this can never be repeated, no matter the scale of what faces us in future.
“And for those unfortunate enough to require surgery, it’s simply shameful that they were forced to languish on waiting lists for longer than a year, especially in such huge numbers.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: '“Health Boards have had to take some extremely difficult decisions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision to postpone a procedure is never taken lightly and Boards are working hard to ensure vital care remains in place where clinically agreed.
“We remain in the grip of the pandemic and we have to balance competing demands and pressures, making the best decisions we can, none of which are easy nor taken lightly.
“There is no silver bullet to solve these challenges but the NHS Recovery Plan we published on 25 August sets out our plans and ambitions for recovering health and social care over the next five years, supported by targeted investment to increase capacity and develop new methods of delivering service."
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