THE figures on waiting times in accident and emergency in Scotland are shocking. These patients could include people waiting who may have had a heart attack or stroke or have another serious condition.
A few years ago I went to A&E with my brother who had suffered a stroke.
We had to sit and wait for over four hours alongside patients with a sore hand or other minor injuries.
How many of our patients with serious conditions are made to sit and wait in A&E like this until it is their turn? Their turn may never come.
We have got to get our act together and get a system that is acceptable for everyone. There should be procedures in place for patients suspected of having a stroke or heart attack. The quicker we can get those patients seen the better, as it means less time spent in hospital for them.
The A&E system has also been a problem for staff. I don’t think it is suitably staffed for the number of patients they are seeing.
If staff get a very difficult case it will hold up other people who are waiting to be seen in the department.
If we get more staff in that might help to eliminate this problem. The way we are going it is one thing after another after another.
I would hope that the extra money going into A&E will help the situation, but some of this must go to bringing in more staff and doctors and it must not be squandered away on something else.
We must also look at the overall times patients are waiting for treatment in the NHS. What is the point of everyone sitting down and saying from the start of October we have a Patients’ Charter with its waiting-time guarantee of 12 weeks for treatment? Who takes any notice of that charter?
We have to start again with waiting times, both in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
We must look at it quickly and not let it deteriorate any longer.
• Margaret Watt is chair of the Scotland Patients Association.