Covid Scotland: New worst record for A&E waiting times

Waiting times at accident-and-emergency departments in Scotland have hit a new worst level on record for the seventh time in three months.

In the week to October 17, just 70.9 per cent of patients visiting A&E were seen within the Scottish Government target of four hours, a drop from 71.3 per cent the previous week.

The percentage of patients seen within eight hours was 92.6 per cent, the same as last week and the lowest figure since records began in 2015.

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It is the third week in a row the percentage of patients seen within eight hours has also fallen below 95 per cent.

Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Forth Valley remains the health board with the longest waiting times, with just 46.9 per cent of patients seen within four hours, the third lowest figure for any hospital on record, though a five point improvement on the previous week.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the figures showed the NHS was in “jeopardy”.

"Record-breaking waiting times might have been normalised by the SNP, but these numbers aren’t trivial,” he said.

“They show people who need critical healthcare services being put at risk. It’s a true scandal.

“The health secretary cannot expect to muddle on and for the Army to bail him out. If staff are to be convinced to stay, we need to see long-term options on the table, including an honest workforce management plan and a revised NHS Recovery Plan.

“In the meantime, the health secretary should spend a shift on the front line so that he has a proper grip of the scale of problems faced.”

Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the figures were further evidence of “crisis” within the NHS.

“More than 50,000 patients have now waited beyond the SNP’s own target time since Humza Yousaf’s recovery plan was published and with each passing week the stats are getting worse,” he said.

“Scotland’s NHS is toiling on Humza Yousaf’s watch and his flimsy Covid recovery plan isn’t cutting it.

“More and more health boards are now reliant on support from our UK armed forces just to maintain frontline services.

“Their efforts are hugely welcome, but, with winter fast approaching, Humza Yousaf must get a grip of the crisis now.”

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