Statistics published this morning by Public Health Scotland covering the last quarter have demonstrated the damage done to the NHS by the Scottish Government’s failure to provide and implement a proper NHS recovery plan, Scottish Labour has said.
The statistics have shown that at the end of June 2020 of the 98,332 patients waiting for a key diagnostic test for conditions such as cancer, 64.6 per cent had been waiting for over the target 6 weeks.
The statistics also show that only 3 per cent of patients waiting for an inpatient or day case procedure had been waiting for less than the 12 week Treatment Time Guarantee. 29.9 per cent of patients had also been on the waiting list for over 24 weeks, which Scottish Labour said was a sign of the SNP’s failure to address long waiting times before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scottish Labour health and social care spokesperson Monica Lennon said:
“SNP Ministers were failing to deliver timely healthcare before coronavirus and locking down the NHS without a plan to restart it has exacerbated this crisis, leading to unthinkable waiting times.
“With vital targets being missed by miles, and thousands of patients queuing for treatment and tests, serious questions must be asked about the Health Secretary’s failure to steer our NHS through the pandemic.
“Jeane Freeman emptied our hospitals and cancelled thousands of appointments and it’s taken her five months to slowly get services up and running.
“With thousands of Scots waiting for key tests and languishing for months without treatment it is vital a plan to fully kickstart and support our NHS is implemented.
“Delays are putting patients at risk and that’s why Ministers should be focused on their needs.”
Diagnostics National Standard – 100% of patients waiting six weeks or less for a key diagnostic test
As at 30 June 2020:
- There were 98,332 patients waiting for the eight key diagnostic tests. This is 11.4% higher (10,031 patients) than 29 February 2020 when NHS Scotland was placed under emergency measures and non-urgent treatment was paused.
- There were 29,925 patients waiting for an endoscopy test, an increase of 7,493 (33.4%) from 29 February 2020.
- There were 68,407 patients waiting for a radiology test, an increase of 2,538 (3.9%) from 29 February 2020.
Due to a reduction in referrals and reduced levels of testing from March onwards, the distribution in the length of time patients had been waiting had changed significantly:
- Only 35.4% of patients had been waiting six weeks or less compared to 84.7% at the end of February. This percentage was greater for those waiting for the Radiology tests (40.9%) but less for those waiting for the endoscopy tests (22.8%).
- Almost half of patients had been waiting over 13 weeks (50.5%), compared to just 5.1% at 29 February. More specifically, 44.7% (30,551) of those waiting for a radiology test and 63.9% (19,127) of those endoscopy test had been waiting over 13 weeks.
Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) – Following the decision to treat all eligible patients should wait no longer than 12 weeks for treatment as an inpatient or day case
- In the quarter ending 30 June 2020 there were only 15,239 patients admitted under this standard. This is 76.7% less that seen in the previous quarter and 78.7% less than the same quarter in 2019. The number patients admitted increased over the quarter as services began to resume – there were 7,147 patients in June compared to 3,665 in April.
- At the end of the quarter there were 86,031 patients waiting to be seen – 7.6% higher than at the end of at the end of February, which was just prior to NHS Scotland being placed under emergency measures. Throughout the quarter the number of patients being admitted began to increase week by week, although the number admitted in the last week of June was still 70% less than that in the last week of February. The number of additions to waiting lists also began to grow steadily as the referrals began to increase again. As a consequence, the number waiting grew because throughout the quarter the number of additions exceeded the number removed from lists, whether due to patients being admitted or otherwise.
- The distribution of the waits experienced so far by those waiting for treatment had also changed substantially by the end of the quarter – 3% (14,897) patients had been waiting 12 weeks or less, 48.2% (41,463) had waited more than 12 weeks but no more than 24 weeks, 29.9% (25,721) had waited more than 24 weeks but no more than 51 weeks and 4.6% (3,950) had waited 52 weeks or more.