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01/10/13 00:01

Waiting times information line

Phone line up and running for patients.

A new phone line for patients seeking advice on waiting times is to go live today.

As of 8am on Tuesday 1 October the advice line will be receiving calls from patients who are unsure about their waiting times rights.

It is being piloted for 12 months, and is being run by Scotland’s national health information service NHS Inform, which is part of NHS 24.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“Patients have an entitlement to be treated as quickly as possible but also at a time that fits in with their lives.

“This helpline has been set up to ensure there is a single point of contact for patients who are unsure exactly what their rights are, or how long they can expect to wait for treatment.

“This will help to empower patients and improve their experience of the health service.

“Waiting times continue to be amongst their lowest ever levels in Scotland, and we want to make sure that patients know what they are entitled to.

“This information line will also help ensure that waiting times are open, transparent, and that patients receive help and support if they need it.”

Marcia Rankin, Head of Health Information Services, NHS 24, said: “The new waiting times information line is a single source of information on waiting times for patients in Scotland. The new service will make it easier for people to get clear and accurate guidance on their rights when it comes to waiting times and aims to take any uncertainty away for patients.

“It is another example of how NHS inform is working with the Scottish Government to provide quality assured health information for patients across Scotland.”

The information line is part of a range of measures to increase transparency and understanding of waiting times in Scotland following a report by Audit Scotland into their management.

This includes letters to all day case and inpatients confirming any requests to have their treatment delayed for any reason and improving the training of board liaison officers to be able to offer specialist advice.

Patients have a legal right to complain, give feedback or comments, or raise concerns about the care they have received from the NHS as part of the Patient Rights Act.

Notes to editors

The new helpline can be reached by calling 0800 028 2836. It will be open between 8am and 10pm Monday to Friday.