We are working closely with NHS boards to reduce long waits and to deliver the commitment in our £1 billion NHS recovery plan to increase in-patient, day-case and out-patient activity, which is supported by the implementation of sustainable improvements and new models of care.
This year is a milestone year for the national treatment centre programme. NTCs Fife and Highland opened in the spring, and NTC Forth Valley will open later this year, along with the completed expansion of NHS Golden Jubilee. Those centres will create significant additional and protected capacity for planned treatment and diagnostics, and they are key to supporting us in our aim to address waiting times.
My constituent requires a hip replacement and hopes to seek speedier treatment via the S2 scheme. However, the guidance surrounding the scheme is complex, and she has received conflicting advice from stakeholders including Scottish National Party ministers. She has struggled to navigate the application process, and she believes that better signposting and support could reduce waiting times for other patients in her position. Will the cabinet secretary introduce better signposting and ensure that all materials relating to the scheme are clear and accurate?
Where there is experience that could help us improve the signposting, I am always more than happy to look at it. If Ms Gosal writes to me on the specific instances that her constituent has experienced, where she feels that the signposting could be improved, I will be more than happy to look at the matter.
The national treatment centre programme is the single biggest increase in planned care capacity ever created in NHS Scotland. The four national treatment centres are opening this year. They will deliver eight orthopaedic theatres and in-patient and day-case wards. They will also provide three endoscope rooms and two general surgery theatres. They are planned to deliver something in the region of 25,000 additional procedures by 2024-25.