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Website to show NHS delays

A website that tells patients how long they are likely to wait for NHS treatment will be made available in Scotland this summer.

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish health secretary, said people queuing for tests and procedures and their doctors would be able to access information about any delays in their area using the software.

Many patients living in pain are waiting years to have common operations such as hip and knee replacements. In theory, the SNP guarantee hospital treatment within 12 weeks of patients joining the waiting list, but this law was broken extensively before the pandemic and has now been breached hundreds of thousands of times.

One orthopaedic surgeon, who did not wish to be named, said he was operating on patients whose joints had entirely collapsed after a two-year wait for a limb replacement made their case an emergency. Other patients who did not reach crisis faced even longer delays, he said.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, a GP and health spokesman for the Scottish Conservative Party, asked Yousaf, during a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s health committee yesterday: “Why can’t we have in the future, in the [recovery] plan, indicative waiting times which are relatively live so we can all go on a website and see how long we need to wait.”

Yousaf said it was fair for patients and NHS staff to expect to have information on waiting times, and that a website to provide this was being developed. 

“We are working closely with Public Health Scotland, we are working closely with boards to develop the infrastructure in order to collate and publish this data,” he said. “It’s an ambition of ours to have that available in a way that is easy to find, easy to understand, both for the patient but for the health professional too.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 11 May 2022


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