A&E admissions highest since before Covid pandemic

The number of people visiting accident and emergency departments is at its highest since before the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures reveal.

The last week in May saw 26,115 Scots attend an A&E department, the most since the final week of February 2020.

Of those, 85.7 per cent were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours – below the Scottish Government target of 95 per cent.

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The figures, published by Public Health Scotland, also show 410 patients spent more than eight hours waiting to be seen at an A&E department, while a further 109 patients waited longer than 12 hours.

Ambulances at the Glasgow Royal Hospital. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In the first month of the Covid-19 pandemic, when Scotland was put into lockdown, A&E patient numbers plummeted to a record low of 11,059.

Attendances gradually increased to a summer high of 24,050 in mid-August, before dropping back below 16,000 in January during the second wave of Covid-19 when restrictions were at their strictest.

But with restrictions easing and Scotland returning to some level of normality, numbers at A&E have been steadily rising recently, by around five per cent most weeks.

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No surge of A&E patients during first weekend of pubs opening in Scotland

There were fears that the re-opening of pubs and sale of alcohol in May could produce an influx in A&E admissions, with health boards around the country urging people to take caution.

But the re-opening did not appear to cause a significant increase in emergency admissions, other than the continued steady rise in line with more of the country returning to normal.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned as A&E departments see numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels, they must assess resources and prepare now for any future waves of the virus.

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