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28/04/19 11:31

Further £70 million to improve waiting times

Next phase of Waiting Times Plan outlined.

Long waits for patients are to be targeted with an additional investment of £70 million.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has outlined the next phase of investment to be directed under the £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan toward meeting its performance ambitions. 

The funding will deliver a range of activity, including carrying out additional procedures, such as cataract procedures and knee and hip replacements, as well as increase the number of outpatient appointments and diagnostic procedures.

In addition, boards will use the investment to focus on ensuring future sustainability across the health service and to increase capacity, including additional workforce, at the network of elective and diagnostic centres currently being created.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“In October I set out our Waiting Times Improvements Plan and I’m pleased to confirm the second phase of the plan will direct £70 million of investment to carry out more procedures such as cataract removal and hip and knee replacements, as well as increase the number of outpatient and diagnostic appointments.

“We’re working with our health boards to finalise this next phase of the waiting times plan. This includes taking forward our new elective and diagnostic centres – these will further help quicker treatment for planned surgery, taking pressure off emergency treatment.

"We will continue to work to ensure the additional funding available delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed."

Background

The Waiting Times Improvement Plan was announced in October 2018.

The plan commits and directs investment of £535 million in frontline spending, and around £120 million in capital, in addition to the ongoing £200 million elective and diagnostic treatment centres programme over the next two and a half years.

The initial tranche of £27 million for 2018/19 was announced in February. This second tranche of £70 million is for the 2019/20 financial year. Details of the breakdown of the allocation by board and area of specialism will be finalised by the end of May, when all individual board plans are completed.