Experts called in to help hit NHS deadline

A NEW team has been formed to help improve waiting times for treatment in the Lothians.

Three local clinical specialists will investigate the best ways of having everyone treated within 18 weeks of referral.

The Scottish Government wants every health board to comply with the targets by the end of 2011, and NHS Lothian said it hoped to exceed that standard.

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Several options will be investigated, including more treatment of patients away from hospital and different "pathways" for the "care journey".

Rebecca Willshee, the health board's service improvement manager, said: "Much of the work we are doing will impact beyond the 18-week standard.

"We aim to achieve improvements in patient care and experience, such as providing care closer to home and ensuring patients are seen by the best clinician in the right place, first time."