Health Minister responds to waiting times report

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Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “We welcome this report that shows there are no examples of manipulation of the figures like those found at NHS Lothian.

“Health boards own internal audits also found no evidence of manipulation.

“This report covers a time period which ended 14 months ago and there have been changes to the system since then, so I am pleased to say that the majority of the recommendations in this report are already underway.

“For example, the ability for boards to list a patient as socially unavailable no longer exists. It was replaced by a new system last October where patients will have more flexibility to agree when they want to be treated and additionally their explicit agreement, confirmed by letter for day case and inpatients, is needed if they want their treatment to be delayed for any reason.

“Boards are also in the process of improving hospital IT systems where necessary, this will provide clinicians with better information electronically and streamline the booking systems for patients.

“However, one area where we recognise that improvements can still be made is in communicating clearly to patients what their rights are and what they can expect, and work is underway to improve this.

“Let us not forget the most important thing – that waiting times are amongst their lowest ever levels in Scotland and they continue to improve. Health boards need to be praised for the work they have done to make sure Scottish patients are getting their treatment quicker than ever.”