NHS Lothian achieves further success in cutting waiting lists

NHS Lothian has achieved a 30% drop in just three months in the number of people waiting for outpatient treatment for more than 18 weeks, according to a new report.

The report - to be presented to the Board of NHS Lothian at its meeting today (May 23rd) - shows how hard work by staff is paying off in terms of delivering quicker treatment for patients.

The report also details great improvements in treatment for women with breast cancer - with nearly 97% of people with this condition treated within the 62 day standard from referral, above the national target of 95%.

On outpatient treatment, NHS Lothian is making good progress to hitting the national target of all outpatients with treatment guarantees being seen within 18 weeks by the end of December 2007.

The report shows that there were fewer than 2,500 patients in this category waiting for longer than 18 weeks at the end of March 2007. This compares with over 3,000 at the end of December 2006 - a drop of 30%. The same figure in September 2005 was over 7,000 patients.

On inpatients with guarantees, the latest figures show that NHS Lothian is continuing to treat people within the 18 week target. NHS Lothian achieved this mark in December 2006 - hitting the target a full year ahead of the Scottish Executive's target of all inpatients being treated within 19 weeks by the end of December 2007.

Meanwhile, NHS Lothian's performance against the 62 day Scottish Executive standard for cancer treatment also improved. NHS Lothian saw and treated over 250 patients within the standard in the quarter from October to December 2007 - 84.5%. This compares with a figure of 78.96% for the previous quarter.

Jackie Sansbury, Director of Strategic Planning and Modernisation, NHS Lothian, said:

"No-one wants to wait for treatment, and anxieties can obviously be higher when the situation is one of a suspected cancer. "That's why NHS Lothian is involved in a number of initiatives to get waiting times down and while these figures represent substantial improvements for patients, we won't stop here and we have plans in place to deliver even faster treatment for our patients."