IT HAS been obvious for quite some time that something must change about the way our NHS is being run by the Scottish Government.

From worrying weekly A&E stats to troubling anecdotes of friends and family members waiting years for operations, we’re reminded constantly that something has gone very wrong.

For anyone who thinks concerns about our NHS are exaggerated or being taken out of context, I can recommend some difficult but essential reading.

A few weeks ago, Audit Scotland – the body responsible for auditing the country’s public organisations – published their review of the current state of our NHS.

The analysis does not hold back on some of the fundamental problems that have been allowed to develop under the SNP’s watch.

The review states: “Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS boards were finding it difficult to consistently meet waiting times standards, particularly for planned care.”

It also said that most waiting time standards are not being met and “more cases are being added to waiting lists than are being removed.”

Besides referring to issues we’ve already heard a lot about, such as exhausted staff and risks to patient safety, the review highlights what should be our biggest concern of all – the future of our NHS.

It says that, despite policies being in place, there is no “overall vision” of what the future of the NHS will look like and that the lack of such a vision makes longer-term planning more difficult for NHS boards.

Having Health Secretary after Health Secretary play down their government’s own shortcomings in managing our NHS, this is the hard dose of reality that’s been required.

We’re told on regular basis by the First Minister and the new Health Secretary that our NHS has record funding, record staffing and that NHS Scotland staff are the best paid in the UK.

There is no acknowledgement from them that despite the ‘record investments’, our NHS is not fit for present demands and, as Audit Scotland has made clear, it is not prepared for the future.

Humza Yousaf, like his predecessor, has decided to focus his energy on defending his government’s handling of the NHS over the last 16 years instead of dealing with the NHS’s shortcomings.

It is said the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging there is one.

That’s what Humza Yousaf must do. His response to criticism of our NHS cannot continue to be ‘Yes, but’.

He must accept that there are glaring issues surrounding our NHS that he and his government are responsible for.

Their poor governance has let our NHS fall into a perilous position. Their determination not to change course risks the existence of everything that is good about our NHS.