Health boards in Scotland are being allocated almost £27m from the government in an attempt to drive down the length of time patients wait for procedures.
The funding is an initial portion of investment allocated through the Scottish Government’s £850m Waiting Times Improvement Plan that was announced in October of last year with the aim of substantially and sustainably improving waiting times for outpatient and inpatient appointments and day cases by Spring 2021.
The allocated funding announced today is additional investment for 2018-19 and has been allocated to territorial health boards and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital near Glasgow.
The money is to be used to increase workforce, purchase new equipment and create additional clinics in the evenings and at weekends.
The Waiting Times Improvement Plan committed and directed investment of £535m in frontline spending, and around £120m in capital, in addition to the ongoing £200m elective and diagnostic treatment centres programme over the next two and a half years.
Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman announced the initial allocation of funding during a visit to the Golden Jubilee, which has used the additional investment to install a new CT scanner, which will help double capacity with an extra 10,500 procedures planned in the next financial year at the hospital.
Ms Freeman said: “I want to stop anyone from waiting too long for treatment, and that is why I launched our new £850m Waiting Times Improvement Plan in October last year.
“The immediate focus of the improvement plan is to reduce waits for patients whose treatment is urgent, who have a suspicion of cancer, and those who have waited longest for an appointment.
“This initial funding to health boards will help improve performance with recruitment of additional nursing staff, new equipment, staff cover and further weekend and evening clinics. We will continue to work with boards to ensure the additional funding available delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”
Jann Gardner, chief executive of the Golden Jubilee, said: “This direct investment to patient care at the Golden Jubilee will make a significant impact on waiting times across Scotland.
“In 2019-20, the investment will allow Golden Jubilee specialists to carry out at least an additional 200 general surgery operations, 200 joint replacements, 600 eye procedures and 1,200 endoscopies and colonoscopies.
“Our additional CT Scanner is now treating patients earlier than planned and will have carried out an extra 1,300 procedures by the end of March 2019. This will benefit patients, including those on a cancer treatment pathway, helping them receive faster diagnosis and treatment.”