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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-16848

  • Asked by: Edward Mountain, MSP for Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 5 April 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 4 May 2023


To ask the Scottish Government, regarding the National Treatment Centre – Highland, whether a booking system is operational for all NHS boards to refer their (a) orthopaedic and (b) ophthalmic patients, and which NHS board is ultimately responsible for overseeing any such booking system; what mechanisms are currently in place for prioritising (i) orthopaedic and (ii) ophthalmic patients on the waiting list, and whether any priority system will be used to order NHS board applications to the (A) orthopaedic and (B) ophthalmic waiting lists, and what the (1) date of the first booking and (2) total number of patients on the waiting list is, broken down by NHS board.


There are currently no plans for a dedicated booking system for the referral of patients to the network of National Treatment Centres (NTCs).

Through on-going engagement with NHS Boards, the Scottish Government’s Planned Care Team actively monitor speciality-by-speciality throughput across NHS Scotland, including patients being seen at the NTCs. NTCs are key in the NHS Scotland approach to tackling the backlog of planned care, and activity going through the centres will be focussed initially to support treatment of the longest waiting patients.

NTC-Highland has been commissioned to support Orthopaedic activity for NHS Grampian, which will provide capacity to treat 434 patients from NHS Grampian who are waiting for Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery.

In line with the national clinical pathway approved for NTCs, NHS Grampian is responsible for providing a list of appropriate patients who have been pre-operatively assessed and NTC-Highland will oversee the booking of patients into both consenting clinics and for surgery. NHS Grampian’s Orthopaedic patients will be referred to NTC-Highland in batches of approximately 50 patients per month. The first batch was referred at the beginning of April for operating from the week commencing 15 May.

Numbers of patients waiting for Orthopaedic and Ophthalmic treatment can be found online on Public Health Scotland's website.

NTC–Highland treated its first patient on 17th April 2023.