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Daily Record
Daily Record
Stuart Gillespie

Dumfries and Galloway residents receive diagnostic tests sooner than most other parts of Scotland

People in Dumfries and Galloway are being seen more quickly for diagnostic tests than patients in most other parts of Scotland.

But waiting lists for inpatient and outpatient treatment are at the highest levels on record.

The figures were revealed in two reports released this week by Public Health Scotland.

The Scottish Government set a target that patients waiting for one of eight diagnostic tests should be seen within eight weeks.

At the end of March, there were 2,155 people on NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s waiting list, with 99 having waited more than six weeks.

That meant 95.4 per cent of patients had been seen within the target time, with Glasgow’s Golden Jubilee Hospital the only better performing NHS facility.

And it compares favourably to the Scottish average, with just 49.6 per cent of the 155,405 patients waiting for a test having been on the list for less than six weeks.

While NHS Dumfries and Galloway is performing well with diagnostic tests, the situation is not so good for inpatients and outpatients – a situation reflected across Scotland.

The Public Health Scotland figures show that in the first three months of the year, 7,631 people in the region had an outpatient appointment – nearly 400 more than the previous quarter.

However, the figure is 1,408 down on the average number seen each quarter in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic hit.

Of the number seen in the first three months of 2022, around 64 per cent had waited for more than 12 weeks. The Scottish target is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within that timescale.

Nationwide, around 68 per cent of outpatients were seen within 12 weeks.

There are currently 10,532 people on NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s waiting list for outpatient appointments – higher than at any previous point in Public Health Scotland’s records.

It’s a similar story for inpatients and daycare, with 2,996 people on the waiting list, of whom 1,347 have been waiting more than 12 weeks.

Between January and March, the region’s NHS saw 1,784 inpatients – more than 100 up on the previous quarter but still 650 down on the 2019 pre-pandemic average.

Of the patients seen, 968 – around 54 per cent – were treated within 12 weeks.

The target is for all inpatients to be seen within 12 weeks but across Scotland only around 64 per cent of patients were seen within that timeframe.

An NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokesman said: “Although the imminent threat posed by Covid-19 has largely passed for the moment thanks to the highly effective vaccination programme, the impact that the pandemic has had on what was already a highly stretched system has been massive. In particular, our hospitals are experiencing consistently high levels of occupancy from emergency patients which makes it very difficult to schedule our normal level of elective surgery.

“Our teams have been working throughout the pandemic to provide continuity of service, and there has been no let-up in efforts to address the large numbers of people still requiring attention and treatment.

“This work will take time and continuing hard work. We apologise to everyone impacted by the situation, and seek continued patience and understanding as teams work to try and ensure timely and appropriate treatment and care across a very wide range of services.”

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