Date lodged: 9 February 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what action NHS Lothian is taking to (a) recruit more orthopaedic consultants and (b) reduce waiting times for orthopaedic treatment, and what discussions it has had with the NHS board regarding this.
Answered by: Shona Robison 28 February 2018
Health Boards have fully delegated powers to recruit and deploy staff, in order to meet their service delivery responsibilities. The Scottish Government supports health boards in their efforts to ensure that they have the right staff in place to meet the healthcare needs of the local population. We understand from NHS Lothian they have recently recruited two consultant orthopaedic surgeons, with both taking up post in January 2018.
I recognise some patients in Lothian are experiencing long waits including in the specialty of orthopaedics, that is why I have made £50 million available to NHSScotland - with up to £7.4 million being made available to Lothian. This additional funding will build up their capacity and make sure that all patients are seen and treated in a timely fashion. I expect to see improvements between now and the end of March 2018. Officials continue to meet with the Board regularly to support improvement in waiting time performance.
The Board are also taking a number of actions to improve orthopaedic waiting times for patients this includes redesigning their Muscoloskeletal Allied Health Professional service to ensure that patients with foot and ankle and upper limb conditions are seen by the most appropriate healthcare professional in the right place in a more timely manner.