Clinical Prioritisation Framework for NHS Procedures Launched


Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP on Monday published Scotland’s Framework for the Clinical Prioritisation of Elective Care, which provides NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the other health boards with clear guidance for prioritising elective care ensuring appropriate COVID-19 safety and priority measures are in place. This follows on from the NHS Winter Preparedness Plan, published on 28 October. NHS Ayrshire & Arran will follow the Framework to categorise patients into four levels of urgency based on their particular clinical condition. This clinically based prioritisation will determine the timeframe within which patients will be seen and treated, ensuring that patients with the greatest clinical need are treated quickest. The Framework sits alongside section 8(3) and (4) of the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 which continues to require NHS Boards to take all reasonably available steps to ensure they are compliant with the treatment time guarantee (TTG). These steps include appropriately prioritising the start of the patient's treatment taking account of their clinical needs, and the clinical needs of other eligible patients, in accordance with the treatment time guarantee. Implementation of the Framework will ensure patients have a clear and realistic expectation of when they will receive their treatment that is clinically appropriate to their individual circumstances. This is especially important at the current time as the NHS manages the demand pressures of winter, responding to COVID-19 and delivering non COVID-19 healthcare. Steps will also be taken to ensure that patients receive clear and timely communication with respect to their planned procedure. Ms Freeman said: “Whilst we are working to maintain as much non COVID-19 healthcare activity as we safely can, that will inevitably be affected by the degree to which the virus is suppressed. “Consequently, given our Strategic Framework approach and the differing levels of virus prevalence we are seeing across the country, we need to give our clinicians and Board flexibility to manage the demands on activity in this continuing emergency situation.” Kenneth Gibson MSP added: “Many constituents contact me to ask about their planned procedures and they are right - we have to think of the medium and long-term consequences the continued strain upon our NHS during the virus has on patients with other health issues, and I welcome the Framework. “While we all appreciate that COVID-19 continues to have an overwhelming impact on healthcare provision, it is heartening to see the SNP Government put measures in place to help guide health boards in juggling priorities as they move back into providing an increasing variety of procedures.” The Framework has been developed with senior clinical leadership from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and senior clinical representation from across Scotland. ENDS