Forth Valley patients forced to endure longer wait for treatment

Waiting time targets are not being met
Waiting time targets are not being met

NHS Forth Valley was one of only two Scottish health authorities which failed to meet any of the waiting time targets set by the government.

An Audit Scotland report published last week stated that Forth Valley and NHS Lothian had failed to ensure that 90 per cent of patients did not wait longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment.

This has not been achieved in Forth Valley since May 2012.

None of Scotland’s health boards met the new “challenging” target that all outpatients should receive their first appointment within 12 weeks.

However, in the report, which covers February to September 2013, the watchdog stressed improvements had been made to the ways waiting lists were managed and scrutinisied.

Alex Neil, Health Secretary, said: “Let us not forget that waiting times are amongst their lowest ever levels in Scotland and they continue to improve.”

A NHS Forth Valleyspokesperson said: “We are committed to reducing waiting times and a number of actions have already been taken to help improve performance.

“These include the appointment of additional staff to carry out more surgical procedures and the recruitment of additional specialist staff in a number of key areas such as rheumatology.

“Further steps will be taken over the next few months to reduce waiting times in a number of areas where we are experiencing specific service pressures and rising patient demand.

“These include respiratory medicine, dermatology, ENT, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and orthopaedics.