Chronic pain waiting times in Tayside described as "completely unacceptable"

By Paul Cargill

Dozens of NHS Tayside patients suffering chronic pain have had to wait more than 12 weeks to be seen by a specialist according to new figures, a situation one local MSP has described as “completely unacceptable”.

Data released by Public Health Scotland shows 208 patients were waiting on a first appointment at the end of September last year, with more than 70 people having to wait more than 12 weeks and one person forced to wait a whole year for a proper consultation for their condition.

Reacting to the figures Mid Scotland and Fife Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser claimed an NHS Recovery Plan recently announced by the Scottish Government’s health secretary Humza Yousaf had “failed to address the issue”.

Mr Fraser said: “The number of chronic pain patients waiting to be seen for medical treatment is on the increase and urgent action needs to be taken by the SNP government.

“Too many patients in Tayside are waiting weeks - in one case a person has waited more than a year - to be seen for a first appointment. That is completely unacceptable.

“With each passing day that a patient in chronic pain has to wait to be seen, their misery only grows.

“Humza Yousaf’s NHS Recovery Plan failed to address the issue of chronic pain and now we are seeing that backlog growing in Tayside.

“We must see him address these figures otherwise more and more patients are going to be waiting too long to be seen.”

Public health minister Maree Todd said: “Living with chronic pain can be incredibly difficult and we are determined to improve services for all those affected.

“That is why I announced last week an extra £240,000 through the Chronic Pain Winter Support Fund to help 13 Scottish Government-funded projects across health boards, third-sector and other partners to enhance the support available for people with chronic pain.

The money will go towards a range of services including the bladder and pelvic pain management programme, support for chronic hip, knee and back pain and support to help people remain physically active.

Health boards have continued to make progress in restarting chronic pain services during extremely challenging circumstances over the last 18 months but the unprecedented impact of the COVID pandemic means that many people are waiting for treatment.

“The additional resourcing provided through the Chronic Pain Winter Support Fund will enhance the capacity of pain management care to will help maintain the health and wellbeing of those affected by chronic pain in the months ahead.”

An NHS Tayside spokesperson said: "As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in recruiting to the service, we recognise that some patients are experiencing a longer wait for the Specialist Pain Service and we apologise for this.

“The service continues to review ways to improve waiting times for patients. We would encourage any patient experiencing worsening of their condition to contact their GP.”

What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.