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McInnes: SNP waiting guarantee will be worthless for 10,000 Scots a month under ministers' get-out clause

August 30, 2011 12:48 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that up to 10,000 NHS patients a month could find that their waiting time guarantee is worthless under a get-out clause written by SNP ministers.

Speaking on publication of the latest waiting times statistics, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"NHS staff and individual health boards should be congratulated on their achievements in designing better ways to treat patients.

"But there is an overall worry exposed by the statistics.

"Despite proudly boasting that they have almost met their target, it is clear that SNP ministers do not have the full picture. A quarter of patients are not even on the new tracking system.

"A bigger worry is held in the small-print of the Scottish Government's statistics. Their new so-called guarantee will only apply to 90% of patients.

"The Government have written a get-out clause into their promise of a guarantee. That means patients will never know if the guarantee will be honoured for them by the SNP.

"Of course, some people are too ill to receive some treatments. We all understand that. But, behind the big boasts, SNP ministers have written themselves a great escape from their guarantee.

"Up to 10,000 people every month will find that SNP promises don't apply to them.

"SNP Ministers need to come clean about their get-out clause and explain why the guarantee won't apply to everyone, even if they are well enough for treatment."

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Table 1 on page 5 of the ISD report shows that 74.7% of patients have their journey measured. That means 25.3% do not.
The Scottish Government press release says that they are "even closer to delivering on the 18 weeks referral to treatment target ahead of schedule" even though they do not have data for 25% of patients
The note on page 11 of the ISD report shows that the "guarantee" will only apply to 90% of patients. http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/Publications/2011...