Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Liz Smith, has written to the interim Chief Executive of NHS Tayside calling for cast-iron guarantees over elective surgery following the recent 42 week reorganisation.
At the end of June it was announced that NHS Tayside were moving to a 42 week shift schedule which would mean that elective surgery would not be offered during peak holiday periods around Easter, summer, October and the festive period. This is designed to allow the health board to provide non-urgent procedures more consistently whilst making best use of staffing resources.
Under the separate Shaping Surgical Services (SSS) proposal, medical chiefs hope to make Ninewells Hospital the home of all emergency surgery for Tayside in the near future.
In addition, Perth Royal Infirmary will become the home of a “dedicated” elective surgery service providing treatment for both cancer and other elective procedures, with consideration given to Stracathro for treatment as required.
The NHS has claimed the move, which will require £3.5 million of investment over four years, will save millions each year.
Commenting Liz Smith MSP said;
“The temporary team at NHS Tayside claimed that openness and transparency would be their top priority, but for many patients the change to elective surgery feels like a downgrade and it is up to officials to clarify exactly what this means for patients.
“A situation where elective waiting lists continue to get longer would not be acceptable under any guise.
“Public faith and trust in the health board is at an all-time low and it’s important that the new surgery schedule is able to meet demand and satisfy patient needs.
“My office is regularly contacted by elective patients who are experiencing long waits for operations and this new 42 week schedule cannot be allowed to exacerbate the issue. Hopefully, NHS Tayside officials will move quickly to put these fears to rest.”