Waiting Times – Key National Targets
A number of national waiting time targets have been introduced by the Scottish Government to help ensure patients across Scotland are seen and treated quickly.
This includes a target to ensure the majority (90%) of patients referred by their GP for an outpatient appointment, inpatient or day case procedure are seen within 18 weeks (known as the ’18 week Referral to Treatment Target’ or ’18 week RTT’).
If you see specialist at an outpatient clinic and require further inpatient or day case treatment then you should wait no longer than 12 weeks for your treatment to start from the date your treatment plan was agreed (known as the ’12 week Treatment Time Guarante’e or ’12 week TTG’).
You should also wait no longer than six weeks to undergo a number of key scans and tests. These includes endoscopies, colonoscopies, CT and MRI scans.
Specific targets have also been set for cancer treatment to help ensure patients are seen and treated as soon as possible. Patients who have an urgent GP referral for a suspected cancer should start their treatment within 62 days. Once a definite diagnosis of cancer is made patients should wait no longer than 31 days for their treatment to start.
A small number of highly specialist procedures are not covered by these targets. These include assisted reproduction, organ, tissue or cell transplantation and national specialist services for surgical intervention of spinal scoliosis.
Managing and improving waiting times in NHS Forth Valley
We are committed to ensuring patients across Forth Valley are seen and treated as quickly as possible.
While we are meeting the key waiting times targets and guarantees for the majority of patients, we do have challenges in a number of specific specialties where we are experiencing specific service pressures and rising patient demand. These include respiratory medicine, rheumatology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and orthopaedics.
A number of actions are being taken to address this. These include the appointment of additional staff to carry out more surgical procedures and the recruitment of additional specialist staff in a number of key areas such as rheumatology, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.
Additional theatre sessions are being scheduled to treat patients with cataracts and extra optometry clinics are being held to help us see more patients who require eye checks.
We have also increased capacity at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital for a number of procedures including orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology and diagnostic scans.
Work will continue to improve performance and ensure we consistently meet national waiting times targets.
It is also important to point out that urgent referrals normally seen within a few weeks and priority is being given to those patients with the longest waits.
How long will I wait for my appointment?
The vast majority of patients in Forth Valley will wait no longer than 12 weeks for an inpatient or daycase procedure once they have agreed to have the procedure with their doctor or other healthcare professional. In addition, patients waiting for an outpatient appointment, inpatient or day case procedure should normally be seen within 18 weeks from the date of their GP referral.
As outlined above, we are meeting these targets for the most area apart from a small number of specialties where we are experiencing service pressures and rising patient demand. These include respiratory medicine, rheumatology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and orthopaedics.
Work is already underway to reduce waiting times in these areas for routine, non-urgent appointments. Arrangements for outpatient services change on a day-to-day basis due to cancellations, additional clinics and other initiatives to reduce waiting times. It is therefore not possible to provide exact waiting times for individual specialities.
Any patient who has questions or concerns about the waiting time is therefore advised to speak to their GPs or contact the Patient Booking Department on 01324 566249 who can provide up-to-date information on specific clinics. Information on waiting times performance across Scotland can also be obtained from the government website on http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/
Confirming or cancelling your appointment
If you can’t go let us know! – every month thousands of people across Forth Valley fail to turn up for hospital and clinic appointments. This costs the NHS millions of pounds each year and increases waiting times. So if are unable to attend or no longer require your appointment please let us know so we can offer it to someone else. If you have an enquiry about an appointment or you need to confirm or cancel it, please call 01324 566249 during normal office hours. You can also cancel appointments online with our online cancellation form.
NHS Forth Valley Waiting Times Report
Our Internal Audit Report on Waiting Times Arrangements has now been published:
Further information – 18 Weeks Referral to Treatment Standard
Around 5,000 people a year fail to turn up for outpatient appointments in NHS Forth Valley but there is also a responsibility on people to give reasonable notice when they are unable to attend. Hospitals will give patients reasonable notice of appointments and offer 2 alternative dates.
If a patient cancels, the waiting time will be counted from the day of cancellation. If a patient fails to turn up without giving prior notice, the waiting time will be re-set to zero from the day they were supposed to attend.