Robison announces extra £6 million to cut waiting times for endoscopies in Scotland

An extra £6 million to help cut waiting times for endoscopies by more than 20% has been announced by the Scottish Government.

It is hoped the number of people waiting for diagnostic tests will be cut by at least 2,500 by September, and 5,000 by December.

There will be a focus on ensuring the most urgent patients, including those with suspected cancer, continue to be prioritised.

Health Secretary Shona Robison (pictured, right) on Monday announced an action plan, with total funding of £14 million, to ensure that those who have been waiting for more than six weeks are seen as a matter of urgency.

She said: “This funding will ensure the most critical suspected cancer patients are seen almost immediately, and our new endoscopy action plan places even more scrutiny on boards to assure us that they are seeing all who need these services.

“We’re targeting the funding to where it is most needed, and I expect the number of people waiting to be reduced by at least 2,500 by September, and 5,000 by December.

“This plan includes additional funding to ensure patients are getting the most suitable clinical option for their diagnostics. We will also be increasing workforce training to provide more specialist endoscopy nurses across the NHS in Scotland in the longer term.

“And by doing this, we will free up capacity to allow the most urgent cases to be seen even more quickly, supported by our hardworking clinicians, and ensure we can strengthen resilience and sustainability across the whole system going forward.”

The £14 million also includes £2.5 million of cancer strategy money that is being allocated to boards to target scopes for urgent suspected cancer patients.

As well as the £6 million of funding announced on Monday it includes £5.5 million of previously announced consequential funding already allocated to Boards, which is now being targeted to endoscopy.

Gregor McNie, Head of External Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said: “Endoscopy is crucial to diagnose cancer so we’re very pleased to see this action plan.

“Demand for scopes is increasing so starting to address staff shortages now with a review of the workforce is very welcome. We look forward to working closely to make sure this action plan is a success.

“It could mean that the NHS in Scotland can diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage and save more lives in future.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Andrew Milligan / PA Wire.