Temperatures are balmy, barbecues sizzle in back gardens and family holidays are being enjoyed for the first time since the pandemic.
It is a long, hot summer in Scotland and such uncommonly good weather makes it all the more difficult to slog through the working day. This certainly seems to be the case for the Scottish Government, which appears to be taking an all-hands-on-deckchairs approach as crisis after crisis mounts up.
An outside observer surveying the Scotland of Summer 2022 could be forgiven for thinking it is a country without a government. The NHS is in an urgent situation. Waiting times at Accident & Emergency are spiralling out of control. Almost one-third of patients admitted for emergency care are not seen within the maximum four hours and thousands are waiting longer than eight hours.
Patients of NHS Fife have to settle for just 54 per cent of them being seen on time. NHS Lanarkshire is under such severe pressure it has been re-escalated. Labour has accused health secretary Humza Yousaf of being ‘missing in action’ and ‘risking lives’.
This week brought a major test of the Scottish Government’s response to the drugs deaths crisis. Nicola Sturgeon was shamed into action in 2020 when official statistics showed Scotland had the worst record for deaths related to drugs misuse in all of Europe. She sacked her drugs minister, announced extra funding to replace the money her government had cut, and unveiled a fresh strategy.