Investment for health boards in bid to cut patient waiting times

Fresh funding has been announced by the Scottish Government in a bid to shorten waiting times for people receiving medical procedures.

Health boards have been allocated around £27 million in initial investment as part of a £850 million stategy to tackle the issue.

The Waiting Times Improvement Plan was announced in October last year and aims to “substantially and sustainably” improve waiting times for outpatient and inpatient appointments, as well as day cases, by Spring 2021.

One of the recipients of funding, the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, has indicated its use of the money will help to increase its workforce, purchase new equipment and create additional clinics in the evenings and at weekends.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the initial allocation of funding during a visit to the hospital.

Ms Freeman said: “I want to stop anyone from waiting too long for treatment, and that is why I launched our new £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan in October last year.

“The immediate focus of the improvement plan is to reduce waits for patients whose treatment is urgent, who have a suspicion of cancer, and those who have waited longest for an appointment.

“This initial funding to health boards will help improve performance with recruitment of additional nursing staff, new equipment, staff cover and further weekend and evening clinics.

“We will continue to work with boards to ensure the additional funding available delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”

Golden Jubilee chief executive, Jann Gardner, said that the funds would allow the hospital to carry out a significant number of additional procedures.

She said: “This direct investment to patient care at the Golden Jubilee will make a significant impact on waiting times across Scotland.

“In 2019/20, the investment will allow Golden Jubilee specialists to carry out at least an additional 200 general surgery operations, 200 joint replacements, 600 eye procedures and 1,200 endoscopies and colonoscopies.

“Our additional CT Scanner is now treating patients earlier than planned and will have carried out an extra 1,300 procedures by the end of March 2019.

“This will benefit patients, including those on a cancer treatment pathway, helping them receive faster diagnosis and treatment.”

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