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Thursday, August 11, 2022

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Delays to community of NHS Scotland’s remedy centres

Patient Having SurgeryGetty Images

Half of the brand new nationwide remedy centres deliberate to extend capability for NHS operations are delayed.

The centres will open at 10 websites throughout Scotland and are supposed to be delivering at the least 40,000 extra procedures per 12 months by 2026.

But at the least 5 won’t open as initially scheduled and a number of the proposals have nonetheless to be agreed.

The Scottish authorities stated addressing lengthy waits was a “key focus of our plans for NHS recovery”.

Plans to develop the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank and supply 5 new elective and diagnostic remedy centres had been first unveiled by the Scottish authorities in 2016 with a view to them being accomplished by the tip of final 12 months.

This goal was missed and Scottish ministers then expanded the plans to create 10 specialist nationwide remedy centres (NTCs) as a substitute.

The NHS restoration plan revealed in August, 2021 set out when the NTCs can be delivered over the subsequent 5 years however a number of the opening dates have now slipped, in response to NHS boards.

The largest deliberate NTC is at St John’s Hospital in Livingston which was on account of open in 2025, however NHS Lothian board papers now counsel an operational date of early 2027 is extra possible.

The papers additionally warn of a “significant increase” in prices. NHS Lothian stated it was unable to say by how a lot on account of ongoing discussions with the Scottish authorities in regards to the venture, which was initially priced at £70.9m.

Cost hikes

The new specialist eye hospital was initially anticipated to price £112.5m however the NHS Lothian board papers warn “significant cost increases” are anticipated which it says are “in line with other national treatment centre projects”.

The St John’s plan, in addition to NTCs in Perth and Cumbernauld, are nonetheless growing their enterprise case for approval by the Scottish authorities.

Changes to make new-build public sector buildings extra environmentally pleasant have lengthened this course of.

Luke Farrow, an orthopaedic surgeon and analysis fellow on the University of Aberdeen, informed BBC Scotland: “Getting the treatment centres online is an absolute priority.

“Every week, each month we delay that progress on engaged on the backlog then the backlog will get worse.”

Mr Farrow said that as well as getting the centres open, there needs to be planning to ensure the 1,500 staff for the NTCs are “not taken from elsewhere within the NHS” and thereby worsen wider recruitment points.


‘I’ve been given my life again once more’

Lynda Raitt

Until the extra capacity for operations on the NHS is introduced, experts have said patients who can afford it will investigate their private treatment options.

It was the prospect of waiting years to get a knee operation on the NHS that sparked Lynda Raitt into investigating her options on the private market.

The Aberdeenshire pensioner was told she had up to a six-month wait at British private hospitals, so looked overseas and found a specialist in Poland who could replace both of her arthritis-riddled knees for just over £15,000.

“My life turned from being a participator in all the pieces to a spectator – I could not even stroll spherical a grocery store,” she stated.

“I had a chance, I went out to Poland and grabbed it with each palms as a result of I wasn’t ready to attend.

“If I had gone on to the NHS waiting list it would probably be 10 months to see a consultant then a two-year waiting list to get the operation. Then I would have had to wait for my knee to repair before I had the other knee done.”

The 66-year-old added: “I don’t have the luxury of that time, I am a pensioner and I want to get out there and enjoy my life now, not in five or six years’ time.”

Lynda, a eager hill walker and tennis participant earlier than her knee issues, used her private financial savings to pay for the operation and aftercare, which she stated was wonderful.

“I feel like I have been given my life back again,” she stated.

“I’m upset I have had to use savings to pay for this but I’m one of the lucky ones as I have some savings I can use – I know there are thousands out there who don’t have the savings to do this.”


The £400m NTCs plan is the only largest ever improve in deliberate care capability in Scotland’s well being service.

The new centres are deliberate to ship at the least 40,000 extra elective surgical procedures and procedures per 12 months by 2026.

A complete of 1,500 new medical and non-clinical workers are wanted for the NTCs however issues have been raised about how this will likely be achieved.

In March, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon informed MSPs recruitment was “progressing well” with 200 of the 1,500 secured at that stage, including the total complement can be in place as soon as the community was totally operational.

But some boards have raised issues in regards to the recruitment drive, given spending watchdog Audit Scotland’s warnings that the NHS is going through main staffing and retention challenges.

The remedy centre in Livingston will want 400 workers however NHS Lothian board papers warn there are “significant risks and challenges” round this degree of hiring.

Humza Yousaf

PA Media

The Scottish authorities stated: “We continue to work closely with NHS boards to open the national treatment centres (NTCs) as soon as possible.

“Four NTCs will open throughout the subsequent 12 months in NHS Fife, NHS Highland, NHS Forth Valley and NHS Golden Jubilee specialising in orthopaedics, offering vital extra capability for hip and knee surgical procedure. This is along with the nationwide eye centre, which opened in November 2020.

“To support the recruitment of an additional 1,500 staff for NTCs across Scotland, we are supporting boards by investing £11m over the next five years to build increased capacity through a number of ambitious recruitment strands, including the continued development of local infrastructure for international recruitment.”

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