Leader comment: NHS Lothian waiting list practices raise questions about trust

NHS Lothian, where waiting lists are under investigation
NHS Lothian, where waiting lists are under investigation
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The independent review which Health Secretary Shona Robison has ordered into how waiting lists are compiled at NHS Lothian has to be welcomed.

It is worrying enough that patients who have had to wait longer than the Scottish Government’s target times for treatment have been scrubbed from the official lists – masking the true extent of the problems facing the NHS. But the echoes in this latest episode of the previous hidden waiting list scandal in the Lothians make the alarm bells ring all the louder.

The revelation that patients waiting longer than the four-hour target were, somewhat conveniently, scrubbed from official waiting lists is no reflection on the care provided by the dedicated staff in our hospitals. What it does raise is doubts about whether we can trust those overseeing and managing our health service. Those kind of doubts are corrosive and must be nipped in the bud. That, hopefully, is what this review will do.

The health board insists that the failure to follow national guidelines is the result of muddle rather than fiddle. A thorough and transparent investigation should settle the matter quickly and allow the NHS to return to the real priority – treating patients promptly.