Patients in the north-east are waiting longer than 18 weeks after referral for chronic pain disorders according to new figures.
Statistics from NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division show in the first quarter of 2018 that 260 people were still on the waiting list for a first appointment.
Currently only 14.9% of patients referred to an NHS Grampian clinic for chronic pain are treated within 18 weeks.
A spokesman for NHS Grampian told the Evening Express the organisation is seeking more Scottish Government funds to tackle the issue.
North East Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles, pictured, said: “Making people suffer in pain while waiting more than four months for their first appointment is terrible. More than a third of patients waiting for chronic pain treatment in Scotland fall under NHS Grampian.
“Clearly our local health board is struggling to find the staff and resources it needs to deliver the same level of health care that other parts of Scotland receive.”
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A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “The waiting times for the Chronic Pain Service across Grampian are much longer than we would like, however, we are submitting a proposal to the Scottish Government to seek additional recurring monies to address this.
“If granted this will allow us to increase the size of the team working with patients suffering chronic pain.
“As part of this programme we are starting a pilot involving some GP practices to provide earlier intervention for patients to see if the service can be delivered differently making better use of secondary care services.
“We are continuing to provide the best service we can in the current circumstances and, in order to do that, we ensure patients are prioritised with those in urgent need of treatment being seen as a priority.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Over two thirds of patients referred to a pain clinic were seen within 18 weeks and we continue to work with health boards to improve performance, supported by record investment. Scotland is the only nation in the UK to routinely publish this waiting times data – a clear sign of this government’s commitment to making improvements for people living with chronic pain.”