By Lucy Ashton
Patients in Scotland are waiting up to six years for routine NHS treatment, according to “unacceptable” findings obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.
The party submitted Freedom of Information requests to Scotland’s health boards asking for details on the longest delays for in-patient and out-patient appointments.
The responses reveal that, as of the quarter ending March 2023, one patient in NHS Grampian had been left waiting almost six years for reconstructive surgery.
Another patient in NHS Tayside had been waiting 1,678 days – four-and-a-half years – for a plastic surgery procedure, while someone had waited 1,582 days for restorative dentistry in NHS Orkney.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, pictured top of page, slammed these “desperate” waiting times as “symptomatic of an NHS which is at breaking point on the SNP’s watch”. And He called on Michael Matheson, left, to come up with a concrete plan to “fix the mess” left by his predecessor, Humza Yousaf.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: “These desperate figures are symptomatic of an NHS which is at breaking point on the SNP’s watch.
“It’s completely unacceptable for patients to be waiting years for routine procedures. In many cases they will be languishing in physical pain, with their lives effectively on hold – and that’s before we even consider the huge toll these delays have on their mental well-being.
“Suffering patients are bearing the brunt of dire workforce planning by successive SNP health secretaries, which has left dedicated frontline staff unable to meet the demands placed upon them.
“Humza Yousaf’s flimsy NHS recovery plan has demonstrably failed to remobilise essential services, so his successor as health secretary, Michael Matheson, must take action immediately to fix the mess he’s inherited.
“He must devise a concrete plan to address the appalling delays patients are facing, and match the Scottish Conservatives’ vision for a modern, efficient and local health service.”
As of the quarter ending March 2023, one patient in NHS Grampian was waiting almost six years for a plastic/reconstructive surgery procedure. The patient had been waiting 2,130 days, equivalent to five years and 305 days. (Scottish Conservative FOI, 4 September 2023, Available on Request).
Another patient in NHS Tayside was waiting four-years-and-a-half years for a plastic surgery procedure. The patient had been waiting 1,678 days, equivalent to four years and 218 days. (Scottish Conservative FOI, 4 September 2023, Available on Request).
Another patient in NHS Orkney was waiting over four years for ‘restorative dentistry’. The patient had been waiting 1,582 days, equivalent to four years and 122 days. (Scottish Conservative FOI, 4 September 2023, Available on Request).
Plastic Surgery on the NHS is different from cosmetic surgery. The NHS website says: ‘Plastic surgery is different from cosmetic surgery, which is surgery carried out solely to change a person’s appearance to achieve what they feel is a more desirable look… Plastic surgery can be used to repair: abnormalities that have existed from birth, such as a cleft lip and palate, webbed fingers, and birthmarks; areas damaged by the removal of cancerous tissue, such as from the face or breast; extensive burns or other serious injuries’. (NHS, Accessed 4 September 2023, link).