Tough questions for health board

MSP Colin Smyth
MSP Colin Smyth

Waiting times for Ayrshire patients suffering from chronic pain have been described as “totally unacceptable”.

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is angry that local patients have to wait longer than those in almost every other part of the country for treatment.

A report into chronic pain waiting times by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division found that just 6% (14 patients) suffering chronic pain in Ayrshire and Arran were seen within the 18 week target set by the Government. 94% of patients seen within the last three months of 2017 had to wait longer than 18 weeks- a total of 221 patients.

The median wait for all patients was 22 weeks before being seen, which was the second longest in the country.

Colin Smyth has now called on the Scottish Government to carry out an urgent review of chronic pain waiting times in the area.

He said: “These waiting times are totally unacceptable. By definition chronic pain can be unbearable for those patients who suffer from the condition whatever the cause so having to wait for months just for a first appointment is just not good enough. The target waiting time has never been met since the government began monitoring the figures yet they have done nothing to tackle the issue.

“Tough questions need to be asked of NHS Ayrshire and Arran over why hundreds of patients have to wait longer than the legal target.”