Magazine article Public Finance

Scots NHS Doubt on Waiting Times

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots NHS Doubt on Waiting Times

Article excerpt

The NHS in Scotland has made progress in reducing waiting times but might not be able to meet tough new targets, an influential parliamentary committee has warned.

In a report on an inquiry into waiting times by auditor general Bob Black, the Scottish Parliament audit committee commended the NHS in Scotland for achieving a reduction in the longest waiting times.

From December 2007, a guarantee of a maximum 18-week wait for outpatients, inpatients and day cases will be in place. The current guarantee is six months. Health officials told the committee they were confident that the NHS was on track and that future targets could be met.

However, the committee warns in its report that, from the evidence available, it cannot say whether sufficient plans are in place to ensure the achievement of the new targets. It believes 'there is a risk that the tough new targets will not be achieved or that budgets will be overspent if planning work is not sufficiently robust'.

Committee convener Brian Monteith said: 'Fewer people in Scotland now have to ensure a long wait to receive treatment, but from the end of 2007 tougher targets will be introduced and these will not be met unless plans are robust. …

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