NHS Lothian to Spend over £37m to Tackle Waiting Times

NHS Lothian has unveiled a major recovery plan to ensure patients receive swift and effective care.

The new strategy, called Delivering For Patients, outlines the board's commitments to tackling waiting times and to patients for the years ahead.

A total of £37.1m will be ploughed into NHS Lothian’s services over the next three years to ensure all our patients are treated swiftly, in line within nationally recognised waiting times and legal time guarantees.

The strategy, which was endorsed at a full meeting of NHS Lothian board on Wednesday states that no eligible patient will wait beyond the treatment time guarantee by the end of December 2014 and that patients covered by the outpatient standard will not wait over 12 weeks.

Mr Crombie said: “This strategy is a real and tangible roadmap for our future. It sets out our commitments    to patients for the years ahead and explains how we plan to re-shape our services to provide more effective, patient-centred care.”

“This strategy will see both new resources being brought into play but also redesign of existing clinical models to maximise effectiveness and efficiency.”

It comes as NHS Lothian works to ensure patients, who were waiting for treatment, are seen timeously and within agreed waiting time standards.

Mr Crombie said: “I have deliberately said that NHS Lothian is not delivering. Patients are waiting beyond the waiting time standards agreed with the Government and set out by Parliament.

“This is not limited to areas of high complexity, but is occurring in some instances where capacity for these patients could be available by improving efficiency and productivity. This position must be recovered. I am keen not to only focus on the mechanics of waiting times but on the provision of quality and safety of our patients.”

Mr Crombie said that the recovery plan will take until the end of December but that Scottish Government continued to work closely with NHS Lothian and they were keen to see full compliance delivered earlier.

This may be possible, but would require more extensive use of the independent sector than currently planned.

Lothian will continue to use external providers as part of its recovery plans, but the report shows that the reliance on them will be reduced as capacity is increased and existing resources are used more effectively.

Mr Crombie added:  “We are still reliant on the private sector at this time, but over the next period that will be reduced as our in-house capacity and infrastructure grows.”

Tim Davison, Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, endorsed the plan and said it was based on the principles of providing safe, effective patient-centred care.

He added: “Our approach is about making sure we can deliver our targets safely. It will take time to increase capacity, infrastructure and staff but now we can at least be sure that we have a clearer plan that will deliver for the future.”