Patients waiting over 2 years in breach of First Minister’s treatment guarantee

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today published “shocking” new statistics showing the true scale by which the First Minister’s own Treatment Time Guarantee is being missed, with patients waiting up to 896 days for treatment when the law says they should wait no longer than 84 days.

The legally binding commitment, personally put into law by Nicola Sturgeon, promises that patients will be treated within 12 weeks.

The information, acquired from health boards by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests, show:

  • 12,275 patients have waited over six months since 2016/17;

  • At least 76 patients waited over a year before being seen in 2016/17, rising to 374 the following year;

  • At least 434 people are currently on the list, still to be seen having been waiting for over a year;

  • An individual patient waited 896 days in Tayside in 2017/18. Another waited 577 days in Ayrshire and Arran and another waited 503 days in Lanarkshire; 

  • An individual still waiting to be seen in Tayside has been waiting 849 days. Others are currently waiting 550 days in Lanarkshire and 506 days in Ayrshire and Arran. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“We knew the First Minister’s 84-day Treatment Time Guarantee was being routinely breached. It is shocking to now uncover the sheer scale of these breaches.

“Hundreds of patients across Scotland have waited hundreds of days longer than promised for treatment and, in more than one case, over 2 years longer.

“The number of people waiting over a year for procedures, when the law says it should take no longer than 12-weeks, is going up and up. This is disrupting people’s lives and work, leaving them in discomfort and pain.

“Patients are still sent letters telling them of their rights under the law Nicola Sturgeon put pen to paper on. But these letters, like the law itself, are not worth a jot.

“To add insult to injury, we were told it would only be on rare occasions that things would go wrong.

“The Scottish Government’s solution is stop breaching its own law by 2021 – a full decade after it was passed. Scottish Liberal Democrats demand better. The SNP’s mismanagement of the health service has gone on long enough.”

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