Weekly figures revealing waiting times in Scotland’s accident and emergency (A&E) departments are to be published to help make the NHS more accountable to the public, the health secretary has announced.
The move follows sustained pressure from Labour at Holyrood, with opposition MSPs arguing weekly publication of the statistics in England has revealed problems in A&E departments south of the Border.
Until recently, the figures in Scotland had only been published every three months, with monthly publication introduced only earlier this year.
Shona Robison has now announced that, from next month, A&E performance statistics will be made public every seven days.
The figures will reveal how many cases hospital A&E departments have dealt with, as well as how many people waited longer than the four-hour target for treatment and the number who had to wait more than eight and 12 hours.
The health secretary said the change would make the Scottish NHS “even more accountable to the public and patients who use their service”.
These will go into “more detail” than the data published by the NHS in England, Ms Robison added as she announced a new website – NHS Performs – would be set up bringing together performance statistics for both local health boards and hospitals.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier this month that ministers were considering publishing A&E waiting-times statistics weekly in response to what Labour has branded a “crisis” in hospitals this winter.
The latest figures showed that in October and November last year, performance against the four-hour target in A&E departments was at 91.8 per cent while in December it fell to 89.9 per cent.
The move to weekly publication was confirmed by the Scottish Government’s chief statistician Roger Halliday, who said: “We regularly review the content and frequency of our statistical publications to ensure they continue to meet the needs of users.
“There is a clear desire for more frequent, validated A&E performance information to be published and we have listened to these views.”
He added: “I am pleased that we have been able to make this change as it will ensure that the public can have access to accurate, high-quality statistics which comply fully with the code of practice for official statistics.”