NHS Greater Glasgow is in the process of finalising arrangements to fast track 1,000 orthopaedic patients for treatment in the private sector.
Glasgow's acute hospitals are working to full capacity treating ten thousand orthopaedic outpatients every year. To make significant impact to the backlog of orthopaedic patients currently waiting longer than six months for assessment, the Board is investing around £2m in this private hospital initiative.
The contract, which will be finalised shortly, will see 1,000 patients being assessed by consultants at both the Nuffield and Ross Hall Hospitals - both in Glasgow. The patients will be seen within the first three months of the year and receive any subsequent orthopaedic surgery in the private sector before September 2005.
This initiative is over and above significant new investment plans into NHS Greater Glasgow's orthopaedic service which will create extra capacity with the recruitment of six additional orthopaedic consultants along with additional anaesthetic and theatre staff and a range of other clinical specialists.
We are also looking at ways of improving waiting times through the use of specially trained physiotherapists who are able to diagnose and refer patients for the appropriate treatment enabling surgeons to spend more time in theatre.
Mr Tom Divers, Chief Executive, NHS Greater Glasgow said: "In recent years Glasgow has faced significant challenges coping with the increased demands on orthopaedic services.
"As a regional centre for these services and faced with recruitment difficulties, which are being experienced elsewhere in the UK and Europe, we have decided to use spare private capacity in Scotland to help accelerate our progress to meeting waiting time targets.
"By December 2005 none of our patients will wait more than 26 weeks for an outpatient appointment.
"The money we are investing in this initiative is part of a specific waiting times financial allocation from the Scottish Executive Health Department.
"The deal negotiate by NHS Greater Glasgow represents good news for patients and good value for money as a result of competitive negotiations with the two Glasgow hospitals."
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