Availability Status Codes (Abuse)

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Health and Well-being – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 7 June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party 2:15, 7 June 2007

I know that the member is new to the chamber but, with the greatest respect to him, I think that he misunderstands availability status codes—or hidden waiting lists, as I prefer to call them. It is not just a question of whether the system is being abused, although it is being applied inconsistently; the system itself, even if properly applied, is fundamentally unfair. Someone who cannot attend an appointment—even for a very good reason, such as a family funeral—is stripped for ever of their waiting time guarantee and, in many cases, has to wait an exceptionally long time for treatment. They are then discounted completely in determining whether waiting times targets are met. I make absolutely no apology for doing what the previous Administration did not do—delivering a system that is more open and honest and that puts patients first.