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Complaint about ‘misleading’ NHS waiting times figures


Watchdogs have been asked to investigate a Scottish government overhaul of NHS waiting times information after surgeons said that some of the figures were “grossly misleading”.

A complaint has been made to the Office for Statistics Regulation, which ensures that important public data is trustworthy, about a new guide for patients on the NHS Inform website. Concerns have also been raised with Audit Scotland, which monitors public spending and NHS performance.

Last month Humza Yousaf, Scottish health secretary, unveiled the platform claiming that it would reassure patients about waiting times. But the times given reflect only the experience of patients treated over a three-month period.

In orthopaedics, surgeons say, only the most urgent cases are being prioritised while some patients face languishing on waiting lists for years due to lack of capacity.

NHS Inform says that people waited a median of 26 weeks between April and June for orthopaedic care, but surgeons argue that this gives a false impression. Dr Iain Kennedy, new chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said the way the figures have been compiled would suggest that people are still not getting a realistic picture of delays.

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Source: The Times, 16 September 2022

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