Health matters

Baillie criticises waiting time targets for appointments and tests

By Lucy Ashton

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have failed to meet their own target for the number of new outpatients waiting longer than 12 weeks for an outpatient appointment. The board’s October performance report shows that at the end of August, 26,527 new outpatients were waiting more than 12 weeks for an outpatient appointment, which represents a 3% increase on the previous month.

The board’s performance was also worse than their own estimates of 22,891 waiting longer than 12 weeks for August 2018. So almost 4,000 more patients were left waiting for outpatient appointments that the board had anticipated.

The MSP for Dumbarton and Lomond said: “Patients simply should not be left waiting for longer than expected for outpatient appointments. 

“The board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has continuously missed key performance targets and the impact is being felt by patients from across the area. Outpatient appointments are usually the start of the process of diagnosis and treatment. We know of the lengthy delays for people waiting for operations, it now looks as if the whole system is not functioning as intended, despite the very best efforts of staff.

“It is clear that the board needs to be using all of their hospital sites to their full capacity. I would urge them to ensure that patients from Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh are offered outpatient appointments at the Vale of Leven Hospital as standard.  This means that patients get the treatment they need as quickly and conveniently as possible.

“I hope that the board will take serious steps to reduce these waiting times as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, the MSP has also called out the Board’s failure to meet targets for tests.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde board papers from October showed that the health board has failed to meet targets for patients waiting for key diagnostic tests in the quarter to August 2018. At the end of August 6,733 patients had waited more than the 6-week target for one of eight key diagnostic tests. This represents 26% of patients who are on the waiting list.

The board had projected that 3,859 patients would wait more than six weeks during the three-month period but actually twice as many patients were left waiting than predicted.  Of the 6,733 patients on the waiting list, almost a third of these were from the Clyde sector, which includes the Vale of Leven hospital.

The paper also revealed that the board is significantly under its year to date allocation for referrals to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. Jackie has previously called on the health board to make better use of the Golden Jubilee hospital, which is on our doorstep, in order to reduce waiting times.

She said: ““Almost 7000 patients in Greater Glasgow and Clyde have been left waiting for more than six weeks for key diagnostic tests which include colonoscopy, CT and MRI scans. This is serious as later diagnosis means delays in starting treatment, which could be life threatening.

“I am angry to learn that the health board is not making use of the Golden Jubilee hospital as well as they could. Other health boards that are significantly smaller are sending a much greater number of patients to the hospital in order to reduce waiting times, yet in Greater Glasgow and Clyde patients are simply left waiting.

“I hope that the health board can begin to meet their targets otherwise I would urge the Scottish Government to intervene and ensure that patients are receiving the treatment that they are promised.”

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