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Health Minister Praises Efforts By NHS In Reducing Patient Waiting Time

inually raise above the challenge of treating more and more people every year he said that it would have been near impossible for the hospital to do so in achieving their success.

Dr Nanette Milne, MSP and health spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives described the official figures as a “LIE” Explaining that while it may be the case that at the exact census dates in a year no-one with a guarantee waits more that 26 weeks for treatment, none of these people have yet been treated. She pointed out that many patients still might have to wait a further length of time before their appointment, as it is the date of treatment that really matters. She stated that that if the guarantee is to mean anything, it must apply 365 days of the year, not four.

But it appears that, since the deadline to hit the goal at the end of December, some 5000 eligible patients have waited longer than that for their first outpatient appointment. This discrepancy seems to be appearing as the executive judge the performance on how long patients on the waiting list have queued on one particular day. Reports of the details of the delays that were experienced by outpatients seen in the first three months of 2006, suggest around 2.3% waited longer than six months.

Dr Andrew Walker, health economist at Glasgow University, said: ‘People read the words and assume the target means one thing, like no-one waits more than six months, which is what it appears to mean. However, if you read the fine print, that is not precisely what it means. It means no-one is waiting more than six months on census day.’

Shona Robison the SNP health spokeswoman said that she was delighted that no one with a guarantee was waiting more than six months for treatment. But she also added that many patients were excluded from those statistics by their inclusion on "hidden waiting lists". She further explained that it was wrong to exclude a third of those waiting for treatment from
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