Health boards in Scotland are to receive £270 million of extra cash to help reduce waiting times, the Scottish government has announced.
Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that each NHS board would get a share of the funds made available over the next three years, with £90 million of it being allocated in this financial year.
The funds will be used to help implement a maximum waiting time guarantee of 18 weeks between GP referral and treatment for patients by 2011.
The Scottish government’s waiting time guarantee sets out that once it has been agreed that in-patient or day-care treatment is the most appropriate course of action, this will take place within 12 weeks.
The additional funding was announced ahead of a debate on the government’s proposed Patients Rights Bill in the Scottish Parliament.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Patients Rights Bill will place patients at the very centre of the NHS in Scotland, creating a culture where NHS patients and staff become real partners.
“That is why we are putting a waiting time guarantee at the heart of our Patients Rights Bill.”
Copyright Press Association 2008