Patients waiting 24 hours in emergency before treatment
PATIENTS have been forced to wait for more than 24 hours in Accident and Emergency (A&E) units, new figures show.
More than 50 people over the last four years, including a number of children, waited more than a day to be seen by doctors and either admitted to a ward or discharged. A further 65 were delayed by at least 18 hours.
The Scottish Government’s target is a maximum four hours wait after arriving at A&E units and that patients should be transferred to a ward or allowed home as soon as possible.
Health campaigners say although the figure is only a fraction of the total number of patients who visit A&E, the number of people waiting to be treated highlights “severe staffing and resource issues” in Scotland’s hospitals.
The figures, published yesterday, revealed that 18 hospitals across Scotland had at least one patient who was forced to wait more than a day to be seen and either admitted or discharged. A total of 49 hospitals have the units in Scotland.
The Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) in Glasgow had the most number of people forced to wait more than 24 hours. The figures, which are for 2008-12, show eight people had to wait for a day.
The next worst performer was Edinburgh’s Western General, with six, followed by Borders General and Stirling Community Hospital – both with five.
The figures, obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, show last year alone there were 12 people forced to wait longer than 24 hours for care – two more than the previous year. The party’s health spokesman Jackson Carlaw described the new figures as “disgraceful”.
Mr Carlaw said: “The SNP cannot continue to pretend everything is going well in our hospitals.
“All manner of statistics point to the contrary, and when matched with the experience of patients, it indicates an altogether depressing picture.
“With its health budget protected, the Scottish Government has to explain why standards are continuing to slide.”
The College of Emergency Medicine said more had to be done to prevent lengthy delays in emergency care units. It said a lack of acute hospital beds and not having appropriate consultants available was often to blame.
Dr Jason Long, the College’s Scottish chairman, said: “One person having to wait this amount of time is totally unacceptable and this is now, sadly, happening more and more.
“The reasons for the delays can be varied and complex. The bottom line is, currently, if there is not an appropriate place in a hospital for a patient they stay in A&E. This is clearly inappropriate and needs to be resolved.”
Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital has set up a group to examine reducing, and ultimately eradicating, delays.
Hospitals under fire
Number of people who had to wait for than 24 hours in Accident and Emergency units before being admitted or discharged:
Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill), Glasgow
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary6
Western General Hospital, Edinburgh6
Borders General Hospital, Melrose5
Stirling Community Hospital5
Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin3
Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow3
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary2
Dumfries and Galloway
Royal Alexandra, Paisley2
Falkirk Community Hospital1
Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert1
Galloway Community Hospital,Stranraer1
Kincardine Community Hospital, Stonehaven1
Ninwells Hospital, Dundee1
Perth Royal Infirmary1
(Figures cover the 2008 -2012)
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