Waiting time guarantee broken more than 150,000 times

2 September 2018, 07:25 | Updated: 2 September 2018, 10:15

Doctor Generic

A legal guarantee for NHS patients to be treated within 12 weeks has been broken more than 150,000 times since its introduction, Labour analysis has found.

The 12-week treatment time guarantee was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2012 for patients with planned inpatient or day case treatment.

Analysis of official statistics shows it has been broken more than 35,000 times so far this year, and 153,170 since its introduction.

In the first six months of the year 24.8% of patients waited longer than 12 weeks, compared to 18.3% for the same period last year.

Labour's health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "This is more than another broken promise from the SNP - these rights were written into law and are now being broken on what appears to be a daily basis.

"Many patients across Scotland will conclude this law simply is not worth the paper it is written on.

"With performance appearing to get worse, we need to see some proper action from the SNP government in Edinburgh, with a workforce plan to solve the NHS workforce crisis.

"Labour is working alongside trade unions, charities, social care groups and other health organisations to develop the blueprint that our NHS needs to deliver the care patients deserve in the future; we need an end to sticking plaster solutions."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "NHS investment and staffing are at historically high levels, and the record high inpatient satisfaction rates published today are a testament to the hard work of our frontline NHS staff.

"Furthermore, since the introduction of our Treatment Time Guarantee over 1.6 million patients have been treated within the 12 week target."

She added: "Meeting the challenge of improving performance and reducing waits requires the twin approach of investment and reform, which is why we recently allocated an additional £6 million to reduce waiting times for endoscopies, with a focus on the most urgent patients, including those with suspected cancer.

"This is an immediate step to cut the number of people across Scotland waiting for diagnostic testing, with health boards working towards reducing the number of patients waiting over six weeks by the end December 2018. This investment followed a package of measures - including £50 million extra funding - to reduce long waits for treatment.

"We will continue to work with boards to ensure that this additional funding delivers the improvement needed."