Increase in clinical workforce to reduce waiting time

NHS Lothian will make a significant increase to its clinical workforce within theatres and a number of surgical specialities to help reduce waiting times.

The extra staff will enhance operating capacity and increase the availability of post-operative beds. It is anticipated that this additional investment will equate to around 250 whole time equivalent staff, including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists and healthcare scientists.

The announcement comes as Health Secretary Alex Neil chaired the Health Board’s annual review and heard from Lothian’s senior management team about the steps taken to reduce the number of people waiting for treatment.

Tim Davison, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said: “We are making real progress in reducing the number of people waiting to be treated, but I would like to reassure those affected that we will remain attentive and will not become complacent.

“The additional staff we are bringing in will allow us to increase capacity and ensure more people are treated locally and in a timely manner.”

Earlier in the day Mr Neil met with staff and patients at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and heard about the steps being taken to reduce the Board’s waiting times backlog and ensure people are treated as quickly as possible.

Mr Neil, Health Secretary, said: “NHS Lothian is engaged in the largest recovery operation against waiting times ever undertaken by a Scottish NHS Board.

“It’s a tough challenge but new Chief Executive Tim Davidson is absolutely the right man for the job and I am pleased with the significant progress made so far.

“These extra medical staff will make all the difference in the fight to get NHS Lothian back on track.”

In addition to the extra staff being recruited, NHS Lothian has increased investment in key areas, such as elective and unscheduled care; overhauled a number of practices and procedures and increased the availability of theatres  (including in the evenings and at weekends) to boost capacity and reduce waiting times.

The number of patients waiting longer than the national targets and standards for inpatient or day case treatment fell by over a quarter from August to September and has reduced from 2,000 in April 2012 to just over 1,000 in September.

The number of patients waiting for outpatient treatment has also reduced to around 3,500 at the end of September.

Notes to editors:

This investment is separate from and in addition to the workforce efficiencies previously identified as part of NHS Lothian’s ongoing Productivity and Efficiency Programme which were included in NHS Lothian’s Workforce Projections submitted to the Scottish Government in July 2012.

​​NHS Lothian is currently working on the largest recovery operation ever undertaken within the NHS in Scotland to ensure that patients are treated as swiftly as possible.