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ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health

Waiting Times

Assessment by UK Statistics Authority

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Assessment by UK Statistics Authority

There are currently six waiting times publications being assessed by the UK Statistics Authority to be designated as National Statistics:

  • Audiology
  • 18 week Referral to Treatment (RTT)
  • Drug & Alcohol
  • Accident & Emergency (A&E)
  • Cancer
  • Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

As part of this assessment, the UKSA contact all stakeholders and ask them to complete a short questionnaire. The feedback received was generally very positive, highlighting a good relationship between ISD and its providers.

From the feedback received ISD have developed the following action plan Download PDF file.

Cost of providing waiting times data to ISD for publication

A few questionnaires indicated pressures around time and resource to provide the required information to ISD for publication. ISD have contacted providers to ask them if they could attach a cost to providing the data for publication purposes only. However, this has proved very difficult. Most of the information is collected and used locally. For the additional information that is collected for national publications, it is complicated to separate out a cost specifically for this. This is even harder in smaller boards where staff may work across multiple areas.

Some providers have given very rough estimates of this cost. Examples of responses we have received include;

  • One provider has provided a very rough estimate that it costs them approx £900 per month for the clinical and admin staff to provide CAMHS data for publication.
  • Another provider estimates that it costs £100,000 per annum for all waiting times information - (including more than is listed above). Additionally they cannot break this figure down into a cost for local purposes to manage their patients and a cost for national purposes.
  • Several providers indicated that this is cost neutral, as the benefit of collecting and using this information outweighs the resources to collect it.
  • One provider indicated the cost of managing and delivering cancer waiting times, the annual staffing costs for this are approximately £100,000 per annum, IT and accommodation costs are not included in this figure.

ISD welcomes any feedback from providers around the costs involved please contact ISD also continually seeks to improve the data collection process for publications, in order to ease the burden on NHS Boards as much as possible.

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