NHS waiting times remain low

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Patients in Scotland continue to wait less than 12 weeks for both a first outpatient appointment and inpatient/day case treatment.

Figures published today by ISD Scotland show that 99.7 per cent of patients are waiting 12 weeks or less for their first outpatient appointment and 99.8 per cent are waiting less than 12 weeks for inpatient/day case surgery.

In addition 99.5 per cent of patients wait six weeks or less for the eight key diagnostic tests.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am proud that the NHS in Scotland continues to deliver some of the lowest ever waiting times. Waiting for diagnosis or treatment can be an anxious period and that is why we have put such emphasis on cutting waiting times.

“The achievements made by the health service to date are in no small part due to the efforts of staff and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the tremendous amount of work that has gone into ensuring that patients in Scotland receive care as quickly as possible.

“The delivery of the 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment waiting times target is the next big challenge for our NHS. These figures out today clearly show that the health service is very well placed to rise to this challenge and I look forward to working with NHS Boards across the country to ensure this happens.”

NHS Scotland is currently working towards a referral to treatment waiting time target of 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment. This was announced by the Health Secretary in June 2007 and is due to be delivered by December 2011.

New ways of defining and measuring waiting times came into effect on January 1, 2008 when availability status codes – the practice of hidden waiting lists – were abolished.