The Scottish government has announced an extra £270m in funding to help health boards cut waiting times.
Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) said that every NHS board in the country would get a share of the funds.
Some £90m of the money will be allocated in this financial year, with the rest being made available within the next three years.
It 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 guarantee also sets out that once it has been agreed that inpatient 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.
“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,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“Across Scotland, patients and their families tell me that access to swift and safe treatment remains a key issue for them.
“That is why we are putting a waiting time guarantee at the heart of our Patients Rights Bill.”
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