This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Figures show fall in waiting times
The number of patients with a guarantee waiting over nine months for in patient/daycase treatment has dropped to its lowest ever level.
The new figures for March 31, 2003, published by the Information and Statistics Division (ISD) of the Common Services Agency show:
Inpatient/Daycase Waiting Times
- A 67 per cent reduction (from 1,989 to 662) from the December 02 position in the number of patients with a guarantee waiting more than 9 months
- Additional information from ISD shows a 22 per cent reduction (from 11,536 to 8,961) from the December 02 position in the number of patients waiting over 6 months with a guarantee for treatment
Coronary Heart Disease
- No patient waited more than 24 weeks for a heart bypass operation or angioplasty;
Combined True/Deferred Waiting List
- The total number waiting on 31 March 2003 (from the true and deferred lists), was 107,557, compared with 108,893 patients waiting on the true and deferred lists as at 31 December 2002 - down 1.3 per cent.
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:
"The Executive and NHSScotland's main priority in the last year has been to improve waiting times for patients. That focus appears to be paying off with the lowest ever number of patients with a guarantee waiting over 9 months for treatment and a welcome reduction in those waiting over 6 months as well.
"I also welcome the work done by Trusts to ensure that no patient waited over 24 weeks for a heart bypass operation or angioplasty - in line with the First Minister's announcement that this would now become a guarantee.
"This not a pat on the back for the Executive but for the hardworking staff across NHSScotland who have delivered these very encouraging results for patients.
"Underlying these figures, the targeting of resources can produce results. There has been a 66 per cent reduction in the number of patients waiting over 9 months for hip and knee replacements. This will continue to be a priority and the Executive has already booked most of the spare capacity in the private sector up until this coming September on behalf of Trusts.
"There has also been significant reductions in the number of patients waiting over 9 months for treatment across a number of key specialities - from 37 per cent in Urology to 96 per cent in Gynaecology - and relatively few patients waiting more than 9 months in Ophthalmology, ENT and Plastic Surgery.
"The Golden Jubilee National Hospital at Clydebank has proved effective in helping to tackle those long waits. It has worked well with Trusts across Scotland to bring waiting times down in key specialities. It has worked well above target and I know it will continue to work to bring waits down for patients across the country."
The ISD figures also show that there are 22,231 patients on the combined list with an Availability Status Code (ASC). This compares with 6,244 at Dec 02. This is due to patients moving over from the deferred list to the new combined list.
Commenting on how this will improve the measuring and reporting of waiting times, Mr Chisholm said:
"The abolition of the deferred waiting list is a major step forward in making the measuring, recording and reporting of inpatient and daycase waiting times more transparent and fairer to patients. It will also provide better comparisons across Scotland.
"The Executive will be monitoring Boards/Trusts as they review, both clinically and administratively, all the cases which were on the deferred list. This must be completed by the end of September. We will also keep a close eye on their use of ASCs to ensure that the codes are being used appropriately.
"We will issue in the very near future a guide to the management of waiting lists to help Trusts and Boards.
"But the abolition of the deferred list is not the end of the road in our attempts to create a better and more transparent system for patients.
Definitions and measurements will be based on open reporting of all cases, regular review of cases where patients are unavailable, consistency across Scotland in measuring and reporting, and openness to independent scrutiny and review.
"This will be backed by rights and responsibilities for patients with better information on what they should expect when they are placed on the list along with responsibilities on them to attend for appointments."