Heart patients wait a year for treatment
NHS asks GPs to fill the gap as targets are missed
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.