Heart pa­tients wait a year for treat­ment

NHS asks GPs to fill the gap as tar­gets are missed

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

The ma­jor­ity of pa­tients at NHS Tay­side are wait­ing sig­nif­i­cantly longer than the 18week guar­an­tee for an ap­point­ment, with some hav­ing to wait over a year.

The lat­est wait­ing time statis­tics, for Septem­ber, show most out­pa­tient and in­pa­tient de­part­ments were mak­ing pa­tients wait no­tably more than the guar­an­teed 18 weeks to be seen.

The longest out­pa­tient waits in­clude car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk (52 weeks), di­a­betes (43 weeks), gen­eral surgery (37 weeks), neu­rol­ogy and res­pi­ra­tory sleep (36 weeks), gy­nae­col­ogy (35 weeks) and pae­di­atric surgery and urol­ogy (33 weeks).

NHS Tay­side blamed the year­long wait for car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk pa­tients to be seen on a lack of spe­cialised staff.

Ad­vice is now be­ing given to GPs to help them man­age a pa­tient’s con­di­tion while they wait for a hospi­tal ap­point­ment.

A spokesper­son for the health board said: “We con­tinue to work hard to meet wait­ing time tar­gets. How­ever, the car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk clinic is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­creased waits due to a short­age of med­i­cal staff with the nec­es­sary skills to de­liver this spe­cialised clinic.

“At the point of re­fer­ral the pa­tient’s clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion is re­viewed by clin­i­cians and ad­vice is given to GPs to help man­age the pa­tient’s con­di­tion in pri­mary care whilst they wait for an ap­point­ment.

“The ser­vice is cur­rently be­ing re­viewed by NHS Tay­side’s trans­form­ing out­pa­tients im­prove­ment team which is ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tive ways to de­liver the ser­vice and re­duce wait­ing times for pa­tients.”

The health board also re­viewed wait­ing time tar­gets at a meet­ing last week.

NHS Tay­side had to sub­mit a plan to the Scot­tish Govern­ment to out­line how it was go­ing to cut the de­lays.

A per­for­mance re­port said: “A short-term im­prove­ment plan to the end of March 2019 is cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped to sup­port the pro­vi­sion of ad­di­tional ac­tiv­ity aimed at treat­ing pa­tients who have been wait­ing the longest within the spe­cial­i­ties of urol­ogy, gen­eral surgery, or­thopaedics and gy­nae­col­ogy.”

Wait­ing times for in­pa­tients are also much longer than the 18-week dead­line.

They in­clude urol­ogy (62 weeks), gen­eral surgery (45 weeks), vas­cu­lar surgery (42 weeks), plas­tic surgery (34 weeks) and trauma and or­thopaedic surgery (32 weeks).

Septem­ber’s statis­tics showed only 17 out of 43 out­pa­tient de­part­ments and seven out of 27 in­pa­tient de­part­ments were meet­ing the 18-week guar­an­tee.

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