Scotland politics

Minister Alex Neil urges caution on NHS waiting lists

Scotland's health secretary said he would "not rush to judgement" over allegations of wrongly-logged waiting times figures.

Alex Neil's words of caution came after Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said there was an endemic problem with the administration of data from NHS boards.

Tayside and Lothian have both been accused of manipulating figures.

Mr Neil said he wanted to see what Scotland's 14 health boards had to say before drawing his own conclusions.

The bodies were all asked to review their practices earlier in the year and they are expected to submit the results of their investigations by the end of the month.

The minister told parliament: "To date, only two boards out of 14 have identified problems, namely Lothian and Tayside.

"However, I will wait until I receive all 14 ordered reports from the health boards before rushing to judgment."

NHS Lothian was criticised when it emerged in October last year that patients in the area who refused to travel to England for treatment were removed from the 18-week waiting list.

Some patients were referred to Northumberland for treatment, but when they declined to go, they were marked as "unavailable for social reasons" and not included among patients on a list which had the target time of 18 weeks for treatment.

Allegations of discrepancies at NHS Tayside have been made in the past week.

Mr Fraser raised the issue in parliament and said: "There is an endemic problem with the administration of data within NHS boards across Scotland."

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