Tayside and Central Scotland

Outside contractor to help NHS Tayside waiting times

Ninewells exterior
Image caption A non-NHS provider will perform colonoscopy procedures at Perth Royal Infirmary and Ninewells hospitals

A contractor has been brought in to help NHS Tayside deal with waiting times for colonoscopy procedures.

The board was one of six that had waiting times longer than the Scottish average in an audit last October.

Its performance has been under scrutiny after the Scottish government put it in "special measures" in 2018.

An NHS Tayside spokesperson said colonoscopy waiting times were "longer than we would want" and they understood it was distressing for patients.

"The public should be assured that the most clinically urgent patients are prioritised such as those referred with urgent suspected cancer and these patients are seen in less than four weeks," they added.

The spokesperson said the health board faced challenges with recruitment and had to contract out 400 colonoscopy procedures to an organisation outside the NHS at Perth Royal Infirmary and Ninewells hospital in Dundee.

There were 4,240 procedures carried out for the Scottish NHS by non-NHS providers in 2018/19.

NHS Tayside's chairman and and chief executive were replaced with it was put in "special measures" two years ago.

It was one of a number of Scottish health boards to have its debts written off after receiving millions of pounds of government loans, known as brokerage.

Last year NHS Tayside was criticised for offering lower doses of chemotherapy for breast cancer patients than in the rest of Scotland.

A subsequent report said it was "highly unlikely" that variations in chemotherapy dosages were to blame for the deaths of 14 Tayside breast cancer patients.