NHS waiting time figures are “not good enough”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
She faced criticism at First Minister’s Questions today on waiting time targets being missed for increasing numbers of patients recently.
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said figures released on Tuesday showed more than 16,000 patients were waiting longer than the legal 12-week treatment time guarantee.
“The waiting time guarantee means nothing,” he said.
“Now 16,000 are waiting. It’s supposed to be zero. It’s the law, guaranteed. When is the First Minister going to obey her own law?”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard criticised the rise in patients waiting longer than the six-week target time for key diagnostic tests for conditions such as cancer.
He said: “One in 13 patients waited too long when Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.
“Today it is one in five. That’s a 171 per cent increase in patients waiting too long – patients waiting for diagnostic tests and investigations, including for cancer.”
Responding to Mr Rennie, the First Minister said: “The figures published this week are not good enough as far as I am concerned.
“Although when we look at the treatment time guarantee, since that was introduced 1.6 million patients have received their treatment within the required timeframe, but the figures are not good enough.”
Ms Sturgeon said outpatient waiting times had improved and £50 million extra investment would help drive improvements in inpatient waits.
She told Mr Leonard an additional £5m was being invested to support access to diagnostic tests for suspected cancer patients and health boards assure that where a patient is expected of having cancer they are treated within six weeks.
Ms Sturgeon said the health service was facing increased demand and the government was investing and reforming to deal with this.