Drug and alcohol users seeking addiction treatment in Dundee are waiting longer than nearly anyone else in Scotland, new figures show.
Performance statistics from NHS Scotland have revealed that just three quarters of those seeking treatment are seen within three weeks.
The figure, covering the three months to September, is far below a high of 97% achieved in the same period up to December last year.
The expected standard for health boards and alcohol and drug partnerships (ADPs) is for 90% of patients to be seen within three weeks.
Across Scotland, 93.8% of patients were seen within the accepted time-frame.
Speaking on behalf of the Dundee Labour group, Councillor Richard McCready branded the local ADP’s performance as “shocking”.
He said: “I will be seeking a briefing on this and looking for action to improve performance. Alcohol and drug misuse causes untold misery to people and their families.
“When people are referred for help they should be seen as soon as possible and certainly quicker than is the case here. I will be looking for an improvement in this.”
North East region MSP Bill Bowman said: “Drug and Alcohol partnerships are at the front line of local healthcare, acting as a triage point for vulnerable people.
“This includes the crucial first treatment, which can be the first ray of hope for someone suffering from addiction.
“The Scottish Government’s own target states 90% of people who need help will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment.
“It is extremely disappointing to find that NHS Tayside’s delivery on this is below the expected standard.
“I intend to ask the SNP health secretary for the reasons behind this drop in standards, which is failing the people of Dundee and Angus.”
Dundee ADP’s performance is the fourth poorest in Scotland, bettering only Inverclyde and East and West Lothian in three-week performance.
In addition, as of the end of the three months to September, it took 60 days for the Dundee ADP service to see 90% of its clients — up from just 16 days for the quarter ending December last year.
Also, 42 people waited as long as 12 weeks overall to be seen, whereas in December last year, just one person waited for a maximum of six weeks.
A spokeswoman for the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, responsible for the provision of treatment, said staff shortages were to blame — and pledged they’d do better.
She said: “Waiting times throughout the summer quarter have been impacted by staffing shortages.
“Over the past year, as part of our improvement planning, the service developed a clearer understanding of current service capacity.
“This is informing a strategic re-design of our services and our pathways to ensure that citizens of Dundee and their families receive services appropriate to their needs which promote recovery.”