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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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Health & Welfare    
New Funding Of 5 Million To Ensure Earlier Operations 21 October 03
Highland Gains 175,000 Extra Funding

Hundreds of patients will have their operations carried out earlier as a result of 5 million additional funding announced today.   NHS Boards will receive 3.8 million, under the Arbuthnott formula, to expand capacity in their area or to buy capacity in the private sector for patients waiting for orthopaedic, urological or general surgery.

The National Waiting Times Unit will also use 1.2 million for a specific initiative to help reduce the number of patients waiting for ophthalmology operations.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:  "NHSScotland is working hard to achieve the national maximum waiting time of nine months for in patient or day case treatment by the end of this year. In fact, a number of areas already have no one with a guarantee waiting more than nine months for an operation.

"It is essential that we build on this progress and we have always said we will use any resource to reduce the amount of time people have to wait for surgery.

"We know that there are particular specialties where more help is needed because demand is outstripping capacity. We also know that this type of injection of funding has achieved results in the past, particularly in the area of orthopaedics.

"That's why we are making this investment which will mean a significant number of patients will get their operations at the earliest available opportunity and then be able to get back to their normal lives."

The breakdown of funding is as follows:

NHS Board

Argyll and Clyde 330,000
Ayrshire and Arran 295,000
Borders 85,000
Dumfries and Galloway 122,000
Fife 253,000
Forth Valley 200,000
Grampian 345,000
Greater Glasgow 709,000
Highland 175,000
Lanarkshire 403,000
Lothian 513,000
Orkney 16,000
Shetland 18,000
Tayside 305,000
Western Isles 31,000
Ophthalmology Initiative 1,200,000

Total 5,000,000

The funding comes in the wake of previous announcements - 4 million in September last year and 5 million in February this year - using private sector capacity for around 1100 NHS patients mostly facing long waits for hip and knee replacements.