Jeane Freeman announces £70m to tackle long waits for NHS treatment
NHS Scotland will have £70m to tackle areas where people are waiting too long for treatment, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.
The funding forms part of the ongoing £850m Waiting Times Improvement Plan and will be spent on extra cataract procedures, knee and hip replacements and outpatient appointments.
Speaking to SNP conference in Edinburgh, Freeman said health boards should also be using the money to increase capacity, including hiring more staff.
Freeman told delegates: “In October I set out our Waiting Times Improvements Plan and I’m pleased to confirm the second phase of the plan will direct £70 million of investment to carry out more procedures such as cataract removal and hip and knee replacements, as well as increase the number of outpatient and diagnostic appointments.
“We’re working with our health boards to finalise this next phase of the waiting times plan. This includes taking forward our new elective and diagnostic centres – these will further help quicker treatment for planned surgery, taking pressure off emergency treatment.
"We will continue to work to ensure the additional funding available delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”
The Scottish Government’s treatment time guarantee to have patients reated within 18 weeks has never been met.
Freeman said: "There are still too many people waiting too long for the treatment they need. The challenge to meet this demand isn’t faced across the UK. But in England, they look like they are simply abandoning their targets.
“They give up. We don’t. I have no intention of abandoning those who are waiting too long, in pain and discomfort for the treatment they need.”