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NHS Lothian waiting times create 5,000-patient backlog

Waiting list figures have risen, officials at NHS Lothian have admitted, as a new report was discussed at the health board meeting yesterday.

The number of people waiting for a clinic appointment for over 12 weeks increased last month to 5,177 the report shows. The admission follows concerns about the trust’s manipulation of waiting times to meet targets.

The report says that “management information suggests that outpatient waits will be under increasing pressure over the coming months,” with urology and general surgery expected to be under particular pressure with the largest backlogs of patients to manage.

NHS Lothian is undergoing a large-scale operation to improve waiting times, with £5m investment over the past few months. The trust is considering using a ‘see and treat’ system, where patients are identified prior to being seen in a local clinic.

The report concludes: “If this outpatient development progresses as anticipated, waits in the outpatient setting will significantly diminish during the autumn.”

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