Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting elective care - clinical prioritisation framework

Published: 16 Nov 2020

The framework provides NHS Scotland with clear guidance for prioritising elective care whilst ensuring appropriate COVID-19 safety and priority measures are in place.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting elective care - clinical prioritisation framework
Principles

Principles

This Framework for Clinical Prioritisation, which has been approved by the Chief Medical Officer and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, should now be adopted across NHS Scotland. The framework provides NHS Scotland with clear guidance for prioritising elective care whilst ensuring appropriate COVID-19 safety and priority measures are in place.

The list below sets out the six key principles that should be considered when clinically prioritising patients:

Access treatment in line with the Clinical Priority Matrix

  • a consistent National approach to outpatient, diagnostic and surgical pathways in line with P1 to P4 clinical categorisation (as set out in Section 1)
  • duties under the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 and associated secondary legislation continue to apply
  • this framework does not cut across the current rights for patients under the above legislation

Protection of essential services

  • maintain essential and urgent services in critical care capacity, maternity, emergency services, mental health provision and vital cancer services
  • enabling Boards to demonstrate that the most urgent patients are treated

Active waiting list management

  • Consistent application of Active Clinical Referral Triage (ACRT) and key indicators for active waiting list management, including addressing demand and capacity issues for each priority level.
  • Cross boundary capacity support where patients can be treated out with their own Health Board area.

Realistic medicine remains at the core

  • application of realistic medicine, incorporating the six key principles (see Section 4)

Review of long waiting patients

  • long waits are actively reviewed (particularly priority level four patients)

Patient communication

  • patients should be communicated with effectively ensuring they have updated information around their treatment and care

Contact

Waiting Times Team: WTIP@gov.scot