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Two-year waiting time ‘not acceptable’, says First Minister

Ms Sturgeon spoke at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)
Ms Sturgeon spoke at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

A patient being given an appointment date two years in the future has been described as “not acceptable” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Reports emerged of the case of Carol Cunningham on Wednesday after she tweeted an image of a letter from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde inviting her to an appointment on July 3 2024.

Ms Cunningham’s case was raised at First Minister’s Questions by Tory leader Douglas Ross on Thursday, who asked Ms Sturgeon if she thought the wait was “acceptable”.

“In terms of the particular case cited in the media today, no, I don’t think that is acceptable and I know that a review of that particular appointment – which is a follow-up outpatient appointment, not a first outpatient appointment – is being undertaken and contact with the patient will be made,” the First Minister said.

Ms Cunningham told the Scottish Sun she thought the wait was “unbelievable” and said she had tweeted the letter to draw attention to the “shocking waiting time”.

Mr Ross also pushed the First Minister on NHS waiting times generally.

Last month, figures showed more than 10,000 people have been waiting more than two years for treatment in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said the rise was down to the pressure on the NHS cause by the pandemic.

“It is the case that waiting times generally and those waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment has increased over the past year, I’m afraid that is the impact of a global pandemic,” she said.

“We have, over the past year, seen further waves of Covid that have had a big impact on the number of treatments that can be done in our National Health Service as infection control measures have had to be tightened up and, of course, as a number of staff have themselves had Covid and been off sick.”

The First Minister went on to say there have been “tentative signs” of improvement in the health service and that “through the efforts of staff” Scotland’s NHS was performing better than those in the rest of the UK on waiting times.