HOSPITAL appointment waiting times have increased 20-fold in the last seven years under the SNP government.

Jamie Greene MSP says he is "deeply concerned" over figures showing the number of patients waiting more than 12 weeks for an outpatient appointment has gone from 227 in 2010 to 5,248 this year - a twenty-fold increase in just seven years.

Mr Greene claims the recent figures underlined the SNP’s failure to properly manage Scotland’s NHS and address issues in recruitment and workforce planning.

The West Scotland MSP vowed to immediately take this matter up with the Scottish Government.

He said: "The fact we have seen a twenty-fold increase in just seven years should focus everybody’s mind. This is completely unacceptable and represents a failure by the SNP to manage our health service.

"We all know our NHS services have come under increased pressure in recent years, but these figures underline just how badly the Scottish Government has failed in getting to grips with providing the right training for meeting the demands of the workforce.

"The number of patients waiting for outpatient appointments has skyrocketed since the SNP came to power. The brunt of their NHS failures is being borne squarely on the shoulders of patients.

"This will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect across the health sector. It’s time the SNP government took this situation seriously and began addressing the underlying problems in our health service and tackled our underprepared workforce.

"Nicola Sturgeon needs to face reality and accept that Scotland’s NHS is facing a crisis under her leadership."

But the SNP's Ruth Maguire, MSP said the Scottish Government had already taken "significant action" to reduce waiting times.

She said: "The Scottish Government recognises that some patients are experiencing long waits and is taking significant action to reduce this.

"In August, £150 million of funding over the next three years was announced to support reduction in hospital waiting times - of which £50 million has been allocated to NHS Boards in the current year. The funding is being used to improve waiting times for all parts of the patient journey – outpatients, diagnostic tests and inpatient and day case treatment.

"We expect to see improvements reflected when statistics for the period between October and December 2017 are published in February, with further improvement still by the spring of 2018.

"Alongside this, £4 million has been announced for projects to introduce innovation in healthcare and improve efficiency. Health boards are expected to use this funding to manage their resources and get the right balance between promptly seeing new outpatients whilst also treating existing patients who go on to require a procedure.

"In addition, a new Ministerial Cancer Performance Delivery Group was announced on Tuesday 26 September to support improvements in diagnosis and treatment – backed by an additional £1 m investment.

"And just last month, the new Access Collaborative Programme was launched – which will reduce waiting times by improving communications between staff working in the community and in hospitals to identify the right clinician and treatment, and streamline patient care to minimise or eliminate unnecessary processes."

Outpatient Appointment: Waiting Times for Patients Waiting at Month end NHS Ayrshire and Arran (ISD Scotland National Statistics Release)

North Ayrshire and Arran Number of Patients on List Number Waiting Over 12 Weeks


30-Sept-2010 15,087 227

30-Sept-2011 17,333 1,608

30-Sept-2012 17,893 317

30-Sept-2013 19,239 1,266

30-Sept-2014 21,922 3,102

30-Sept-2015 25,622 5,408

30-Sept-2016 27,051 7,217

30-Sept-2017 23,708 5,248