Not doctoring the figures

NHS Borders has assured the Scottish Government health secretary Nicola Sturgeon it does not manipulate its waiting times to meet targets.

Chief executive Calum Campbell gave the promise as a national investigation was demanded following the NHS Lothian waiting list scandal.

A report found NHS Borders’ neighbouring health board had asked patients to go to appointments in Northumberland, and if they refused, they were not included on a list of those having to wait more than 18 weeks for treatment.

More than 1,200 people were referred to England, leading to the suspension of two staff and an investigation by NHS Lothian.

Scottish Government health secretary Nicola Sturgeon described the attempt to doctor waiting time figures as an “completely unacceptable practice”.

And Scottish Labour has now written to the Auditor General for Scotland asking for a probe of all 14 Scottish health authorities, including NHS Borders.

But Mr Campbell said: “NHS Borders has assured the cabinet secretary that NHS Borders works within the regulations to manage waiting lists.

“NHS Borders has maintained the waiting times targets by using a range of initiatives.

“For example, since January, we have been running additional weekend clinics and some weekend theatre sessions to allow us to assess and treat more people.”