A&E waiting times match worst level on record

The proportion of people waiting too long at Scotland’s A&E departments has matched the highest level on record, new figures show.

A Scottish Government target aims to ensure 95% of those at emergency departments are seen and subsequently discharged or admitted within four hours.

However, the figure was just 66.2% in the week up to April 10, matching the previous low level recorded in the week up to March 20.

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The figures from Public Health Scotland show 7,705 of the 22,774 people who attended A&E waited more than four hours.

The proportion of people waiting too long at Scotland’s A&E departments has matched the highest level on record, new figures show.

Meanwhile, 2,373 people waited more than eight hours and 944 were in hospital for longer than 12 hours.

Of the health boards in Scotland, NHS Forth Valley recorded the lowest level of people seen with four hours (54.7%), followed by NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, which recorded levels of 58.7% and 60.7% respectively.

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Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the figures showed emergency care required “immediate action from the Health Secretary”.

“I fear we’ll get the now familiar sound of silence from Humza Yousaf,” he said.

“It’s completely unacceptable that more than one-third of patients are having to wait over four hours to be seen, because these excess delays lead, tragically, to avoidable deaths.

“We’re past the recent peak of Covid infections, so the number of NHS staff absences ought to be easing.

“The problem is that the SNP government’s appalling workforce planning means there is no slack in the system, and so there are staff shortages across Scotland’s NHS and, especially, in our emergency wards.

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“A&E, like our health service generally, is on its knees and yet the SNP’s only solution for the crisis is the Health Secretary’s flimsy Covid Recovery Plan, which simply isn’t cutting it. Patients and shattered staff deserve so much better.”

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Barely a week goes by without performance falling to record lows somewhere in our NHS.

“A&E services have been in critical condition for months now, but the SNP have failed to act.

“Heroic NHS staff are working tirelessly to keep things running and keep patients safe, but there is only so much that can be done to paper over the cracks of SNP failure.

“Lives are at stake here – we cannot let this chaos become the new normal in our emergency rooms.

“The SNP must act now to support A&E services and tackle problems like delayed discharge, which are piling pressure on to services.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton urged the Scottish Government to “set aside” work on another independence referendum – with some civil servants devising a new prospectus for an independent Scotland – and repeated calls for an inquiry to be held into the state of emergency care.