AROUND a third of physio appointments across Greater Glasgow and Clyde are failing to meet government waiting time targets, new figures show.

Statistics published yesterday show only 63.4 per cent of patients requiring musculoskeletal physio are seen within the four-week target set by the Scottish Government.

In addition, nearly 18 per cent of patients in the area are forced to wait for more than 16 weeks for an appointment. These statistics do not include those who have paid for their own physiotherapy care.

The figures, which cover the period from April to June this year, show almost 9,000 patients across Greater Glasgow and Clyde were forced to wait longer than four weeks, with 16,170 given appointments within the timeframe.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the government had failed to train and employ enough staff, and had neglected warnings about an ageing population.

He added: “It’s a complete failure that thousands of patients a month are waiting too long for physio and occupational therapy.

“These statistics won’t even include those whose pain is so great they can’t wait for the NHS, and are instead forced to go private.

“Many of these people will be in significant pain, and are being let down badly.”

Despite the results, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has the third highest rate of patients seen within the four-week target, and is the best on mainland Scotland.

However, only two other health boards in Scotland had a higher percentage of patients waiting more than 16 weeks.

A health board spokesperson said: “Appointments are allocated on the basis of clinical need.

“Most urgent patients are seen within two to four weeks. The remainder are seen as quickly as possible, with an average wait currently of 37 days.

“Considerable work has been done to make the service as efficient as possible.

“Appointments are lost when patients do not turn up, so we have introduced text reminders to reduce this.” 

Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman added: “Almost half of patients are seen within four weeks and over one third of patients waiting for a first clinical appointment with the service are waiting four weeks or less.

“We are aware this needs to improve and we will continue our work to bring down waiting times. This includes sharing learning from best performing boards and working with other boards to identify local solutions.”