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Scottish NHS treatment guarantee ‘broken 100,000 times under latest Health Minister’

A quarter of inpatient and day cases missed out on the policy between April and June

Nicola Sturgeon’s NHS treatment guarantee has been broken more than 100,000 times since her latest Health Minister took office, figures show.

In 2012, Sturgeon introduced a legal right for treatment within 12 weeks for conditions like knee and eye operations.

However, it has been flouted 104,511 times since she appointed Jeane Freeman as Health Minister in June last year, the Telegraph reports.

Although performance improved slightly, more than a quarter (27.5%) of inpatient and day cases missed out on the legally-binding policy between April and June.

Meanwhile, fewer than three quarters (73.5%) of new outpatients began treatment within 12 weeks over the previous three months, missing the target of 95%.

Another SNP pledge to ensure 90% of people’s journey through the health system lasts no longer than 18 weeks from referral for care was also missed, with just 79.2% hitting that timeframe.

According to Cancer Research UK, 16,200 patients waited more than the target time of six weeks to receive a diagnostic test between April and June.

Freeman admitted that the legal treatment guarantee will not be honoured until spring 2021.

David Stewart, Scottish Labour’s health spokesman, said: “The SNP’s waiting time law is not worth the paper it was written on. Tens of thousands of patients have had their legal guarantee to be seen within 12 weeks broken under Jeane Freeman.”

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said the 18-week target between referral and treatment had been missed by 11 health boards.