Waiting, waiting, waiting. It’s been a day for patience at Holyrood.
We await the publication this afternoon of amendments to the Budget Bill which could secure its passage.
We wait - and wait and wait - for the Electoral Commission to issue its verdict upon Wendy Alexander’s campaign funding.
We await an explanation from NHS Tayside or the Scottish Government regarding a patient who was, allegedly, removed from a surgical waiting list.
The issue was raised at questions to the first minister by Nicol Stephen, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader. He read out a letter sent to a patient advising that he had been instructed to remove her from the waiting list for treatment.
On Nicol Stephen’s interpretation, the “hidden” waiting lists of the inglorious past have now been replaced by a simpler approach: kick patients off the main list so that the 18 week target for treatment is preserved.
Three possible scenarios. This individual case has been misinterpreted by the surgeon in question whose letter indicates that he is decidedly unhappy. That seems unlikely.
Alternatively, this is a highly exceptional case. The woman patient requires liposuction for a medical condition. It appears that this consultant, Alex Munnoch, is the only one in Scotland offering this particular expertise.
The third scenario? That this sort of thing is more widespread. Indeed, Mr Munnoch himself suggests in his letter that he has more than one patient affected by such decisions.
Either way, we await answers. A tedious task - but nothing like as bad as waiting for surgical treatment.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon is contacting NHS Tayside - and the health board where the woman lives.
She says that the case dates from the 21st of December - that is, before strict new rules abolishing “hidden waiting lists” were introduced.
In other words, Tayside would not be able to take such a decision now.
As billed, Nicola Sturgeon contacted NHS Tayside. She says the problem wasn’t waiting lists - but failure to agree a funding deal over the case between Tayside and the woman’s home health board, Lothian.
The good news is that the woman has now been promised treatment for her condition.
Indeed, Tayside go further. They say that those patients (plural) dropped from Mr Munnoch’s list will be treated, in Tayside. He is the only surgeon in the UK conducting the particular procedure involved.
As for the consultant, he has now “apologised unreservedly” for any suggestion that patients were removed from the list to meet targets.
It now appears that, contrary to the previous impression, he was “under no pressure from managers in Tayside”.
So that’s OK then.
Interviewed Nicola Sturgeon about her direct intervention in the Tayside case. Her voice was notably hoarse.
Suppose that’s what happens when you spend the afternoon shouting at health boards.