A leading heart charity plans to step up its work with NHS Grampian after it was revealed cardiac patients in the North-east are facing a 40-week wait for treatment.
The British Heart Foundation Scotland (BHFS), which funds research into improving treatment and diagnosis of cardiac conditions, said it is imperative anyone with heart disease is treated quickly, and has urged anyone with problems due to long waits to contact them for advice.
The charity now plans to contact the Government over the waiting times and has encouraged any patients with concerns to contact its staff in an effort to improve the situation.
James Cant, director at BHFS, said: “It’s vital that anyone suspected of having cardiovascular disease be given rapid access to a consultant to identify and initiate the most appropriate treatment.
“Cardiovascular disease is a designated clinical priority for the Scottish Government and we’re committed to working in partnership with health boards to ensure it receives the same priority at local level.”
It follows an Evening Express report last week which revealed NHS Grampian waiting times for cardiac patients have spiralled to 40 weeks.
The health board admitted it is currently short staffed in the department and apologised to patients.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “Speaking generally, we have had a number of challenges within cardiology including absences among senior medical staff and allied health professional staff which has led to patients waiting longer than we would wish for them to wait.
“We have taken a number of actions to address this situation. This includes a recently retired consultant coming back to work, securing a number of locum members of staff and sourcing additional, external capacity. We are sorry for the waits that patients have experienced, but would reassure all patients that their clinical urgency is considered and urgent patients are being given priority.”
The BHFS said anyone in need of support can contact 0300 330 3311 which is manned by trained nurses.