The SNP’s flagship waiting time law has been broken over 30,000 times in the Lothian region since it was introduced.
In 2012 the SNP introduced the Treatment Time Guarantee, which gave patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations.
But new figures show that this law has been broken nearly 5,000 times so far in 2018 in NHS Lothian, and 30,255 times since it was introduced – the highest figure for any health board in the country.
Scottish Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians, Kezia Dugdale, said:
“With parliament returning after the summer recess, new Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has perhaps the fullest in-tray of all ministers.
“The NHS is facing major funding problems, and dedicated staff are over-worked and under pressure like never before. And nowhere are the problems greater than in the Lothian region.
“The issues around A&E waiting times, particularly in the Royal Infirmary, are well documented. But what receives less attention is what’s known as the Treatment Time Guarantee.
“This is actually a legal right the SNP introduced, guaranteeing treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations. A worthy piece of legislation.
“Unfortunately, the law has now been broken over 30,000 times in the Lothian region since it was introduced in 2012.
“That includes almost 5,000 times this year alone, and – unsurprisingly – NHS Lothian has the highest figure for any health board in the country.
“This isn’t just a simple broken promise – these rights were written into law and are now being broken on what appears to be a daily basis. The waiting time law is clearly not worth the paper it is written on.
“Across Scotland, the NHS faces major challenges. But I urge Ms Freeman to prioritise the situation in NHS Lothian.
“Patients in Edinburgh are still waiting far too long in A&E and are being left in pain and discomfort because operations are cancelled. Thousands of bed days have also been lost as a result of delayed discharge, which the SNP promised to eradicate.
“The NHS recently celebrated its 70th birthday. The government has a huge challenge ahead to ensure it is fit for the next 70 years and beyond.”
What is the Treatment Time Guarantee?
The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 established a legal 12 weeks Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) for eligible patients who are due to receive planned inpatient or day case treatment from 1 October 2012. The Act states that eligible patients must start to receive that treatment within 12 weeks (84 days) of the treatment being agreed. This guarantee is based on completed waits.
Unlike most NHS targets, the SNP Government enshrined this target in law. It was signed into law by Nicola Sturgeon on 29 March 2012.
As at 30 June 2018: The TTG has been broken 153,170 times across Scotland since it was introduced in 2012.