NHS waiting lists: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

A recent newspaper article reports that in August 2023 the Scottish Government received an offer by the UK Government that some Scots patients facing delays for life changing operations could be treated in English hospitals: this offer however was officially rejected. If the foregoing is/was correct, and as NHS waiting lists in Scotland appear to be immense, can you tell me please:

(a) why was the offer refused?
(b) who made that decision?


The Secretary of State’s proposal seemed to relate to a claim that waits are more adverse in England than Scotland. Data captured by the two systems on waiting times are not easily comparable, but a shallow comparison of numbers does not indicate worse performance in Scotland than in England. Data to March 2023 show that in Scotland there were 114 patients waiting per 1,000 population for Treatment Time Guarantee (TTG) and New Outpatients (NOP) appointments, whereas in England 130 patients per 1,000 population were on the Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting list. The decision not to engage with the offer was made by the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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