Patients waiting four years for ‘life-changing’ operations

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the wait times are 'scarcely believable'.

NHS Scotland patients waiting four years for ‘life-changing’ operations, figures show Getty Images

Some patients are waiting four years for “life-changing” surgery on the NHS in Scotland, figures show.

Data obtained by the Scottish Conservatives using freedom of information legislation reveals a patient in Tayside waited four years and 175 days for a hip or knee replacement.

NHS Tayside did not provide data on the procedures separately, so it is unknown which surgery was completed.

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the wait times are “scarcely believable”.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde, a patient waited three years and 330 days for a hip replacement.

The health board also had the longest average wait of 340 days for a hip replacement.

Meanwhile, NHS Lothian’s average wait for a knee replacement was 370 days.

An NHS Grampian patient waited three years and 179 days for cataract surgery, while the average wait for the procedure in NHS Orkney was 236 days.

Dr Gulhane said: “It is beyond disgraceful that any patient should be waiting for over four years for a routine procedure. While they are described as routine, getting the surgery carried out is life-changing for patients.

“The fact that is occurring right across Scotland exposes the SNP’s horrendous mismanagement of our NHS during their near 17 years in office.

“Successive SNP health secretaries – including Humza Yousaf – have presided over dire workforce planning which has left frontline services dangerously understaffed.

“These intolerable waits will be having a deeply alarming impact on these patients, not only physically, but mentally as well.

“One in seven Scots are languishing on NHS waiting lists and the SNP have miserably failed to eradicate delayed discharge from our hospitals as they promised to do in 2015.

“At every turn, the SNP have allowed our NHS to fall into chaos.

“The current SNP Health Secretary Michael Matheson is scandal-ridden and unfit for office. Since taking up his role, he has done nothing to get on top of our NHS crisis and more and more patients are suffering as a result. He should do the decent thing and resign. If he doesn’t, Humza Yousaf should sack him.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to driving down waiting times.

“We have increased investment in frontline NHS boards by more than half a billion pounds in the draft Budget – a real-terms increase of almost 3% – but we know that to make progress we need to not just invest in services but also reform the way they are delivered.

“We are working with NHS boards to reduce long waits, which have been exacerbated by the impacts of the global pandemic.

“The commitments set out in our £1bn NHS recovery plan support an increase in inpatient, day-case, and outpatient activity through the implementation of sustainable improvements and new models of care, and we opened two new national treatment centres in Fife and Highland in spring 2023, providing additional and protected capacity across Scotland.”

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