NHS Lothian delivers faster treatment for patients

No patients were asked to wait more than six weeks for tests, and many received their scans well before the Scottish Government's waiting time target of six weeks.

The board of NHS Lothian will be given a performance report on a number of measures at its meeting on Wednesday, 27th May.

The statistics cover the period up until the end of March, 2009.

The report, which will be posted on NHS Lothian's website, shows Accident and Emergency departments across Lothian have continued to hit government targets, with 98% of all people seen and treated within the official target time of 4 hours.

NHS Lothian also achieved the new national target of a maximum 12 weeks wait from referral to seeing a consultant for non-emergency cases for most patients.

Almost 40,000 people were treated by NHS Lothian within 12 weeks in the quarter from January to March 2009.

This compares with March 2002, when over 7,000 people waited over 26 weeks for treatment.

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

"We are grateful to our staff who are continuing to strive to deliver even faster care for our patients. We appreciate that no-one wants to wait for healthcare and so are continuing our efforts to further reduce the time taken to deliver safe, high-quality appropriate care."

A small number (31) were either too ill to receive treatment or were unavailable for social circumstances and so could not be treated by the end of March. There were eleven patients waiting for highly-specialised scoliosis (spine) treatment. NHS Lothian investigated sending these patients to other locations for treatment within the 12 week waiting time but it was clinically better for these people to be seen by NHS Lothian's experts. The possibility of a transfer was rejected in consultation with both NHS National Services Scotland and the Scottish Government's Health Department.

NHS Lothian is now working towards the Government's new waiting times target of a maximum wait of 9 weeks for inpatient and day case treatment by 31 March, 2010.

NHS Lothian is receiving £17.4m from the Scottish Government for work on achieving this new target.