Scottish patients are facing lengthy delays when it comes to hip replacement operations, according to new figures.
The Scotsman reports that new data shows that since 1998 waiting times for common procedures have increased significantly, with some patients having to wait more than two years for treatment.
Data compiled by the Information Services Division (ISD) revealed that the average wait for all hip replacement procedures has increased from 117 days in 1998 to 157 by the end of March 2006 – a rise of 34 per cent.
A leading surgeon told the newspaper that the latest figures reflected his own experiences of the NHS waiting times.
"I probably have 100 patients on my surgical list who have been waiting in excess of two or three years because they are excluded from guarantees," he said.
"They are kicked into the long grass until the NHS works out how it is going to treat them. Their waits are certainly not measured against the targets."
Increased waiting means that many more people are considering private healthcare (http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/) as a preferred alternative choice of treatment across the UK.
What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?