Scottish NHS Waiting time law broken over 53,000 times in 2018

In a fresh blow to the Scottish Government, the SNP's flagship waiting time law has been broken 53,396 times so far in 2018, official statistics show.

The 2012 Treatment Time Guarantee gives patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations, however according to figures released by ISD Scotland, 18,278 patients between July and September 2018 this year had waited more than 12 weeks.

In total, treatment time guarantee breaches were up more than 120 percent in two years.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport, Monica Lennon MSP, said:

“The SNP promised the people of Scotland that they would have a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks. That law has now been broken an astonishing 53,396 times in 2018 so far.

“Every time this law is broken it leaves a patient in pain or distress waiting to get the treatment they deserve.

“Our NHS staff are simply not getting the support they need from the SNP. A recent investigation by Scottish Labour revealed more than one million stress-related sick days have been taken by health service staff in recent years.

“Staff are at breaking point because the SNP government has mismanaged our health service for over a decade.

“The forthcoming budget must give our NHS staff the resources they desperately need.”

In the Lothians region alone, 3,000 people waited longer than 12 weeks for trauma and orthopaedic surgery, while 45 per cent of paediatric surgery cases took more than 12 weeks, and 1,895 people waited for longer than 12 weeks for ear, nose and throat appointments.

NHS Lothian deputy chief executive Jim Crombie, apologised on behalf of the health trust, and promised to improve services. In a statement he said that: “We know that any delay in diagnosis or treatment can be worrying for patients and we aim to provide effective and timely care at all times."

“We are working hard and are committed to increasing capacity to minimise waiting times for our patients across our services. The priority for our staff is to make sure all patients are treated safely and given the highest quality, effective care. We aim to treat patients in order of clinical priority and length of wait and tell patients as soon as possible when delays are identified."

“We are working closely with Scottish Government colleagues to develop robust and sustainable plans to deliver compliance with agreed waiting times. "

We have reached out to the Scottish Government for a comment, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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