Waiting lists

There’s an interesting letter in today’s Herald from a consultant neurologist at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary:

Today, the lady sitting in front of me makes a 185-mile round trip for a consultation which lasts little more than 10 minutes. Her referral letter is dated August 2004 (seven months). She leaves less than happy because I propose a diagnosis which requires technical investigation for confirmation and waiting time is estimated at one year.

If my diagnosis is confirmed, surgery will be required. There will be a third queue (six months) awaiting assessment by the surgeon, and then a fourth queue (one year) awaiting surgery. Four queues: two actual, two potential, three years plus. Politicians who take a high-profile interest in the duration of queue one are invited to take an interest in queues two to four. If queue one shortens (more patients seen), queues two to four are liable to lengthen.