More people wait six weeks or more for drug and alcohol treatment

The number of people waiting six weeks or more to start their first treatment for drug or alcohol has risen by around five percent in a year, new figures show.

The latest NHS Scotland Information Services Division (ISD) statistics show that by December 31 last year, a total of 2,547 people were waiting to start treatment.

Of these, 364 (14.3%) had been waiting more than six weeks – double the three week or under target – up from 236 (9.4%) at the same time the previous year.

A total of 10,550 people began treatment between October and December 2018 and 93.9% were seen in three weeks or under – meeting the Scottish Government’s 90% target.

The rate is higher in prisons, where 910 people started treatment in the final three months of 2018 and 97.8% waited three weeks or under.

Performance varies across health boards, with 10 meeting the 90% in three weeks or under target.

Three boards – NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and NHS Lothian – did not meet the standards.

NHS Shetland’s data was excluded due to “non-compliance”, the NHS ISD report said.

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