Cash will cut patient waits at Forth Valley Royal

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Patients should have their waiting time for treatment cut thanks to extra funding from the Scottish Government.

A cash injection of £17 million will allow two additional theatres to finally be used at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

There will also be a second MRI scanner installed to speed up diagnosis with 8000 additional scans carried out annually.

The operating theatres – which it is understood NHS Forth Valley didn’t have the cash to run until now – will mainly be used for general and orthopaedic surgery.

This will include around 1500 extra joint replacement operations to take place each year.

The funding, which is part of a new National Waiting Times Improvement Plan announced today, is a move by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to ensure health boards meet their targets.

Until now, a legal requirement for all patients to start treatment within 12 weeks has never been met.

Waiting times for cancer patients hit a six-year high earlier this year, according to official figures.

However, thanks to the additional funding, extra operating lists will run in the Larbert hospital’s existing 14 theatres, including extended sessions over weekends, enabling hundreds of extra operations to be performed.

A new 32 bed ward will also be established for patients who need inpatient care fallowing surgery.

The Health Secretary visited Forth Valley Royal Hospital to meet staff yesterday.

Afterwards Ms Freeman said: “This is a significant investment in the facilities at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, and one that will bring substantial benefit for years to come. The extra capacity and new MRI scanner will reduce waiting times for both procedures and diagnostic tests, meaning better outcomes for patients.”

NHS Forth Valley chief executive, Cathie Cowan, said: “We know that waiting for a scan or operation can be very stressful and this substantial investment will help us to increase capacity and reduce delays for local patients.”