Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed news of record lows in the numbers of people waiting to be discharged from Scottish hospitals and continued progress on national waiting times targets demonstrating that action by the Scottish Government to protect the quality of frontline services – despite Westminster’s savage public spending cuts – are having the right effect.

New figures released show that the Scottish Government’s waiting time target of 90 per cent of patients completing their referral-to-treatment journey within 18 weeks has been exceeded, with 92 per cent of patients being treated within that timescale during December last year.

In addition, the latest delayed discharge figures show that the number of people awaiting hospital discharge is at a record low, with 54 patients waiting more than six weeks to leave hospital in January 2012. In 2002, the figure was over 2,000.

Linda said “In a time of punishing Westminster cuts the Scottish Government has made it a priority to continuously improve patient access to health and care services.

“Waiting times and delayed discharges have got significantly better during the SNP’s time in government and today’s figures show that the patient experience in both those respects is continuing to improve.

“No one is any doubt that Scotland’s health and social care services are facing financial pressure as a result of the Tory-led coalition cuts to Scotland’s budget, but the Scottish government has acted to protect frontline service quality and patient access, protecting NHS funding and boosting to £80 million the Change Fund to support joint working between the NHS and local authorities. Today’s figures show that these measures are paying off for Scottish patients.

“There is no room for complacency, of course, we are always striving for more improvement, but NHS and social work staff should be commended for their achievements in ensuring that Scottish patients continue to receive a service that is not only high quality, but is also continuing to get better.”

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