This week Scottish Liberal Democrats led a debate on the Scottish Government’s legally-binding Treatment Time Guarantee as they asked Parliament to back proposals for every patient for whom the 12-week it is missed to be sent a letter by the Health Secretary apologising for the Scottish Government’s failure to abide by its own law.
The Treatment Time Guarantee, enshrined in law by the SNP in 2011, applies to every eligible patient, ensuring they are treated within 12 weeks. However, the law has so far been breached for at least 190,000 patients amid the SNP’s mishandling of the NHS.
The law is now being broken more frequently than ever – for more than 1 in 4 patients – but there is no effective redress for patients or penalty for the SNP Government when a breach occurs.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
”The SNP Government gave patients a guarantee that they would be seen within 12 weeks. They put it in law.
“That legal guarantee has now been broken 190,000 times amid the SNP’s mishandling of the NHS. There is no consequence for ministers while patients have not option but to sit and wait for anything up to 2 years.
“Ministers have set out a plan to stop breaking the law by 2021 – a full decade after it was passed. Scottish Liberal Democrats demand better.
“It is time this legal guarantee had some teeth. Today Parliament can back my motion calling for the Health Secretary to have to apologise to each patient every time the Scottish Government fails to abide by its own law. Patients need to be told their rights and told for how many other people the law has been breached. It is time the SNP Government was straight with people.”