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927,000 patients treated within 12 week guarantee

Published: 24 Nov 2015 10:09
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Waiting times figures published.

The NHS in Scotland has treated more than 927,000 patients within the 12 weeks treatment time guarantee, since the legal guarantee was introduced in October 2012.

The figure comes as official waiting time statistics for July to September 2015 show that 94.6 per cent of inpatients and day-case patients were treated within 12 weeks.

Out of the patients not seen within 12 weeks, 90 per cent were from six health boards – NHS Lothian, Highland, Grampian, Tayside, Ayrshire and Arran and Lanarkshire.

The Scottish Government has supported boards experiencing challenges through the £10 million investment from the £31.5 million Performance Fund in 2015/16.

Funding of £1.5 million for the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to carry out an additional 1,550 operations each year also came into force in October This is allowing patients from across Scotland to receive faster treatment and help health boards manage increases in demand and clear backlogs.

Outpatient figures for the same period show that 86.1 per cent of patients waited 12 weeks or less for an appointment.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government launched a new outpatient delivery and improvement programme which will support health boards and health and social care partnerships deliver more integrated and accessible outpatient services with the aim of lowering waiting times. To deliver this health boards are being supported with a £2.7 million investment.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"Health boards across Scotland continue to deliver some of the lowest waiting times on record, with more than 927,000 patients treated within our 12 week treatment time guarantee since it was introduced in October 2012.

"The NHS in Scotland is doing better against tougher targets with waiting times at historically low levels. Waits for hip and knee operations have more than halved over the last ten years, while waiting times for cataract operations are more than 40 per cent shorter.

"However, more clearly needs to be done to maintain and improve on performance in order to meet the rightly demanding targets we have set. Patients should expect nothing less.

"Our ageing population in Scotland means that our NHS is facing different challenges to a decade ago and it is vital that we support health boards as they continue to adapt to meet these new demands.

"This is why we are investing in targeted support where it is needed most To address this increase in demand we recently announced plans for a £200 million investment to create six new elective centres to carry out procedures such as hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.

"Our recent funding of £1.5 million to the Golden Jubilee will also enable the hospital to deliver an extra 1550 operations each year, as well as recruit additional clinical staff and allow for weekend surgeries.

"This will help free up capacity at other health boards and mean that patients from across Scotland get faster treatment.

"This is on top of the £10 million investment from our Performance Fund which went to NHS Lothian, NHS Highland and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. This funding is being used to increase capacity, support additional consultants and allow for weekend surgeries and we would expect this to be reflected in waiting time performance going forward.

"NHS Grampian has also invested £5 million of its uplift share to support the delivery of the 12 week treatment time guarantee in 2015/16, while NHS Tayside has received £1.2 million to directly support the delivery of waiting times.

"To drive up outpatient delivery we recently announced our improvement programme, as well as £2.7 million of investment to health boards, which aims to better the services outpatients receive and in turn improve waiting times.

"We know there is still substantial work to do, which is why we have the solid fundamentals of record staffing and record funding in place to help our NHS ensure all patients in Scotland are treated as quickly and as effectively as possible."

Also published today is the 18 week referral to treatment standard, which shows that 87.2 per cent of patients were seen and treated within the time frame in September 2015.

In addition, 90.3 per cent of patients waiting for key diagnostic tests were seen in six weeks or less as of 30 September 2015.

Notes to editors

Latest waiting time figures are available here:

The 12 week treatment time guarantee is the maximum waiting time patients should wait for planned treatment. It was introduced in October 2012 for all patients due to receive treatment as an inpatient or on a day case basis.

During the quarter ending September 2015 there were 4,255 waits over 12 weeks. The health boards with the highest level of breaches were Highland (614), Grampian (901), Tayside (590) and Lothian (974) Ayrshire and Arran (415) and Lanarkshire (335). This equates to 90 per cent of all waits over 12 weeks.