Treatment guarantee: ‘For many it is not practical to travel overseas’

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When is a guarantee not a guarantee? When it’s an NHS treatment guarantee. That at least is what many people will think after reading our story today about NHS Lothian preparing to offer patients treatment abroad in order to meet the Scottish Government’s 12-week treatment guarantee.

And they have a point. Strictly speaking, of course, the guarantee has been met.

But while some people will be prepared to fly to Dublin or Dubrovnik to get an operation sooner than they would in the UK, for many it is 
simply not practical, for a variety of reasons.

The patients involved are free to turn down the offer without causing any further delay to their treatment at home. You might say that is better than being offered no choice at all.

But what everyone really wants is to be treated within a sensible timescale and within a reasonable 
distance of home.

What the Government’s treatment time guarantee does is put under the spotlight the struggle which the NHS faces across Scotland to meet the demands put upon it.

That has to be a good thing if it 
focuses attention, as it should, 
on sorting out the ills of the health service.

Fit for purpose

MUST do better has been a common theme when it comes to PE in Edinburgh schools.

The Scottish Government’s target figure of two hours a week was missed last year by two-thirds of high schools and more than a third of primaries in the city.

Which is why today’s news from an innovative project in Flora Stevenson Primary is so encouraging.

The idea is to incorporate physical activity into the daily routine in school – involving all teachers and children – and it is paying dividends already.

The school reports that almost 80 perc ent of pupils are now choosing to go further by taking part in optional classes in things as diverse as fencing and hip hop.

Catching children young and nurturing their natural enthusiasm for sport is key to encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle throughout their schooling and into later life.

Those behind this project are to be congratulated on their success so far.

The successful model could now be rolled out across the city and beyond, with Edinburgh University closely monitoring the results.

All of which should hopefully make for a more positive report card – and a more healthy population – in the future.