10 months ago Audit Scotland looked at how the NHS in Scotland has made progress in managing waiting lists and warned that public trust was being put at risk.
The targets for NHS boards are as follows:
- 90% of patients must start treatment within 18 weeks of being referred to hospital (18 weeks RTT)
- No patient should wait more than 12 weeks for their first outpatient appointment (12 weeks OP)
- Under the treatment time guarantee (TTG), eligible inpatients and day case patients should receive treatment within 12 weeks of their treatment being agreed (12 weeks TTG)
A recent progress report found that there had been improvements but despite the 18 weeks RTT target being achieved nationally two boards did not meet it individually. The report also found that no Scottish health board achieved the new government 12 wks OP target and no board achieved all three targets in September 2013, although two narrowly missed by 1%. Six of the boards achieved the TTG and two boards achieved none of the standards. The Scottish parliament’s Public Audit Committee is now planning to look into waiting list issues.
The Royal College of Nursing Scotland have voiced concerns about whether health boards have enough staff, beds and resources to deliver the waiting time targets.
The BMA in Scotland do not support the 12 wk TTG because they believe that quality patient care and clinical priorities should be the priority and these can be compromised by such legal requirements, especially when there are increasing capacity pressures and decreasing budgets.