27,000 Grampian patients failed by Scot. Govt’s abysmal record on Treatment Time Guarantee

North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles has shamed the Scottish Government for forcing 26,999 patients in NHS Grampian to wait over 12 weeks for treatment, after a decade of underfunding totalling more than £239 million.


During a Scottish Liberal Democrat debate in the Scottish Parliament today, Mr Rumbles attacked ten years of SNP government for allowing the underfunding to continue despite it having a clear impact on the local board’s performance on cancer waiting times, child mental health treatment, chronic pain treatment, alcohol & drug treatment and the number of operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons.


Mr Rumbles said: “The Scottish Government has failed to deliver its Treatment Time Guarantee for tens of thousands of patients across Scotland. But it will come as no surprise to patients in the North East that conditions are even worse in NHS Grampian.


“I do not blame the hard working staff for the situation we find ourselves in. I want to lay the blame for this sorry state of affairs fairly and squarely at the door of the Scottish Government and that is because Scottish ministers have, over the past 10 years, failed to provide £239 million of funding that should have come to Grampian health board.


“The Scottish Government’s Treatment Time Guarantee is no guarantee at all, it is disingenuous and fails the patients it is designed to help. The Scottish Government should address the funding shortfall immediately, to give the staff at Grampian the resources they need to do their job.”




Notes for editors:  


  • The majority of people for whom the 12-week TTG has been breached since its introduction were in 3 health boards:

o          NHS Lothian (34,486)

o          NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (32,079)

o          NHS Grampian (26,999)

(completed waits, as documented in the last ISD Scotland figures, published 26/2/19)


  • NRAC funding - NHS Grampian has failed to receive its target NRAC allocation (90% of the Scottish average per head of population) each year since 2009/10. The total distance from parity over the whole period is £239.2m. That includes a projected £7.7 million under target for 2019/20.


  • CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) - Only 41.1% of children referred to NHS Grampian for mental health issues received treatment within 18 weeks during Q4 of 2018. The worst record in Scotland. At a low point, only 34.5% of children and adolescents starting treatment between April and July 2018 had been seen within 18 weeks of referral. (FOI)


  • Cancer treatment – For the final quarter of 2018 the local health board had the second worst record for treatment within the ‘31 day standard’, from decision to treat to first cancer treatment, with nearly 10% of patients failing to be seen on time.


  • Planned cancelled operations - NHS Grampian has regularly had more operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons than other health boards, totalling 3367 since May 15 and peaking at 139 cancellations in Jan 16. In Mar 19 NHS Grampian was the worst and it is currently the third worst, for Apr 19.


  • Alcohol & drug treatment - In the final quarter of 2018, NHS Grampian was one of three boards in Scotland to fail to deliver 90% treatment targets, within three weeks, for patients suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.


  • Veterans services - Veterans First Point centres were set up in Scotland with money gathered from UK banks in Libor fines. When that ended in July 2017 only Grampian and Highland discontinued the service after failing to take up match funding from the Scottish Government.


  • Chronic pain treatment -  Only 14.9% of patients referred to a NHS Grampian clinic for chronic pain received treatment within 18 weeks in the final quarter of 2018, with 260 people still on the waiting list for a first appointment 18 weeks after being referred. At the time, 260 of 714 patients who were still waiting for treatment after more than 18 weeks in Scotland fall under NHS Grampian.



  • Data provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe):

NHS Grampian allocation compared with NRAC target allocation


Actual allocation £m

NRAC target allocation £m

Distance from parity £m





























2016-17 (a)




2017-18 (a)




2018-19 (a)




2019-20 (a)





(a)  allocations for 2016-17 to 2018-19 are revised to remove funding streams that are

(b)  not allocated on an NRAC basis

The total distance from parity over the whole period shown is £239.2m.



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