Evening Express

Urgent action needed to tackle north-east’s chronic pain waiting time, says MSP

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

An MSP has called for the new Health Secretary to tackle chronic pain waiting times in the north-east – with just 11.2% of patients seen within an 18-week target.

New figures released by Information Services Division Scotland, an arm of NHS Scotland, have shown NHS Grampian was the worst-performing health board in the country in the last quarter.

This has dropped from a high of 57.5% in June 2017, with the health board blaming “significant challenges” in recruiting enough qualified staff.

Conservative north-east MSP Tom Mason said: “Quite simply, people across the north-east are being left to suffer in pain while waiting for treatment.

“The health secretary must provide a clear and unwavering commitment to reduce chronic pain waiting times.

“Anything else will be seen as abandoning patients in this area who are in need of help.”

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We have been experiencing longer waiting times than we would like with the chronic pain service across Grampian.

“This is partly as a result of significant challenges in recruiting enough qualified staff.

“It is an extremely specialised field and we face competition from health boards across the country for a limited pool of staff.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “We are working with boards to improve their performance, as well as investing £50 million this year to reduce long waits across the health service.

“While seven out of 10 patients are attending within 18 weeks, and some boards are performing very well, this needs to be better across Scotland.”