Additional £32m to tackle NHS waiting times

Thursday 25th July 2019

The Scottish Government is to spend an additional £32m to help tackle NHSScotland’s waiting times.

The money, announced by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman during a visit to the Queen Margaret Hospital in NHS Fife, will help to support the Scottish Government’s Waiting Times Improvement Plan and is in addition to £70m allocated in April this year. It will go towards funding additional clinics, extra staff, and delivering more cataract procedures, hip and knee replacements and additional general surgery.

The Government says their commitment to the Waiting Times Improvement Plan in 2019-2020 has now reached £102m, bringing total funding for the initiative since its launch in October 2018 to £850 million. The plan’s target is to ‘sustainably reducing waiting times’ by spring 2021.

Ms Freeman says the investment is already paying off:

“It is good to see that funding is making a tangible difference in hospitals such as the Queen Margaret and I am determined that should be the case across Scotland.

“Our Waiting Times Improvement Plan will also see the creation of new elective and diagnostic centres, leading to quicker appointments in planned surgery, taking pressure off emergency treatment.

“We will continue to ensure the additional funding delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”

Professor Derek Bell, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

“It is good to hear of further investment in reducing waiting times in Scotland. We hope that this additional funding will help cut waiting times by increasing capacity across the healthcare system. It is important that additional funds are spent on sustainable solutions – including on waiting time initiatives - if we are to see improved access and outcomes for Scottish patients. Designing and implementing new models of care will be vital.”