Access to PrEP shouldn't be “luck of the draw”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today raised concerns with the First Minister about long waits for PrEP prescription appointments in NHS Lothian. He has called on the Scottish Government to end this discrepancy.

Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed NHS Lothian is the only health board in Scotland with a waiting list for prospective PrEP patients, and there are 125 people waiting.

The longest recorded wait times for PrEP prescription appointments were NHS Lothian (50-84 days), with the next longest NHS Grampian (6-17 days).

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by more than 90%.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“There’s a shocking imbalance in the provision of PrEP across Scotland. There’s no good reason patients living in Lothian should wait up to 12 weeks longer than those elsewhere.

“This isn’t something we can neglect. 13% of Scots who carry the HIV virus aren’t aware they do. Access to protective health treatments shouldn’t be a luck of the draw scenario based on where you live.

“The Health Secretary must look into this immediately and equip the health boards that are falling behind with the right resources and staffing to ensure patients seeking these drugs are able to access them swiftly and without barriers.”

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