South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has today (Wednesday 21 June) questioned the Government over “unacceptable” waiting times for patients in Ayrshire suffering from chronic pain.

Colin Smyth challenged the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robinson in the Scottish Parliament during health questions, over the waiting times which has led to Ayrshire being labelled the pain capital of Scotland.

In the Scottish Parliament Colin Smyth asked:

“In the last quarter, 95.6% of patients waiting for chronic pain services in Ayrshire and Arran waited over the 18-week target.  To put this into perspective, in the quarter ending in March this year, of the 295 patients referred for chronic pain only 13 were seen within the target period of 18 weeks. I’m sure the Cabinet Secretary will agree this is unacceptable.

Can I therefore ask what action will the Cabinet Secretary take to right this wrong and ensure that those suffering from chronic pain in Ayrshire and Arran are giving the treatment that they need within the timescales provided”

Shona Robison responded:

“A lot of work is going on. The Scottish Government gathers figures for chronic pain services and the waiting times for them. That is unusual; such figures are not gathered in other places. However, it is very important that we use that information to make the improvements that are needed. Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Public Health and Sport, has established an expert group that is considering how to make the improvements. Support will be given to NHS Ayrshire and Arran and elsewhere in order to make improvements.

I agree with Colin Smyth that NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s performance in the matter is not acceptable; it is not as we want it to be. We know that chronic pain has a severe impact on the quality of life of people who suffer from it, so it is very important that that work be taken forward. I am sure that Aileen Campbell will be happy to keep the member updated on progress.”

After the debate Colin Smyth added:

“People across Ayrshire are quite literally suffering a lot of pain under the SNP’s failed leadership of the NHS. For someone who is living with chronic pain, being referred to be seen by a specialist and having to wait well over 18 weeks is just not good enough. 282 patients last month had to wait over 18 weeks. The region is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to waiting times, but this isn’t the fault of staff, who are run ragged and understaffed. It is poor leadership and a lack of investment from the Government who have failed to intervene to tackle this crisis”.

The full question can be viewed here:

Full general questions can be viewed here:

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