North-east patients have had to travel hundreds of miles for specialist treatment – according to new figures.
At least one patient in the NHS Grampian area had to undertake a journey to Southampton, a round-trip of more than 1,100 miles from Aberdeen, for treatment.
Information obtained through Freedom of Information shows 162 people in Grampian have had to travel to England, Ireland and Wales for care since 2015.
Aberdeenshire West Tory MSP Alexander Burnett said: “It’s unacceptable some patients are having to undertake round trips of more than 1,000 miles for procedures, regardless of the level of speciality.
“The figures highlight the shameful position our health boards are left in due to the slack attitude of the Scottish Government when it comes to our NHS.”
The figures show 18 patients from NHS Grampian were referred to University College London Hospitals since 2015, 14 to Kings College Hospital, London, 13 to Newcastle Upon Tyne and 12 to Imperial College. Seven were referred to Great Ormond Street hospital in London.
Other locations patients were referred to include Birmingham, Bangor in Wales and Belfast in Northern Ireland.
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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our focus is always providing the best possible care in the most suitable environment.
“For a very small number of services, treatment is best provided in specialist centres elsewhere.
“This only happens on the recommendation of a specialist in NHS Scotland and it is expected that follow-up care is provided in Scotland.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “It has always been the case that patients may be referred outwith Grampian if they require very specialist treatment and those facilities are not available locally.”