Hernia Operations (Waiting Times) (NHS Dumfries and Galloway)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 1 February 2024.

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Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

4. To ask the Scottish Government when it last discussed waiting times for hernia operations with NHS Dumfries and Galloway. (S6O-03049)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government meets national health service boards on a regular basis. We also commission and work closely with the centre for sustainable delivery, which was set up to drive service improvement, innovation and redesign. It regularly meets health boards to discuss any challenges that impact on activity and to provide any necessary support. The centre for sustainable delivery last met NHS Dumfries and Galloway on 17 January this year.

The Scottish Government remains committed to reducing waiting times and improving access to services, including for general surgery. We are working closely with all NHS boards, including NHS Dumfries and Galloway, where targeted work is being taken forward with weekend working focused on hernia repair and laparoscopic cholecystectomies, to make sure that we continue to develop programmes for dealing with issues related to hernia repairs.

Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

I have a constituent in Dumfries and Galloway who, having been diagnosed with a double hernia, has been waiting for treatment for four years. Another person’s hernia operation in August 2022 was cancelled 10 minutes before they were due to go into theatre. Because of cancellations, they are still waiting. Another person inquired two months ago about how long they would need to wait and was told by the local hospital that it had no idea and was still looking at referrals from last June. I could go on.

Waiting lists for hernia operations in my region have risen by 175 per cent in the past five years, and a year is now the median wait. Does the cabinet secretary think that that is acceptable? If not, will he tell my constituents when he will bring down those waiting times? Frankly, they are waiting far too long.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

I recognise that individuals are waiting too long, but Colin Smyth will recognise that, in the past five years, there has been a global pandemic that has had an impact on planned treatment.

As I mentioned, NHS Dumfries and Galloway is taking forward work to provide targeted support and to address delays to hernia repairs. That is, along with the work that the health board is doing on gallbladder operations, intended to reduce the waits that the member referred to. We will make sure that health boards will, as they produce their detailed plans for 2024-25, continue to take measures to reduce those long waits.

The Presiding Officer:

Let us ensure that we are concise, colleagues. We will get more members in.