Covid Scotland: NHS Lanarkshire warns of six hour waits at A&E as hospital pressure continues

Patients are waiting over six hours at Accident and Emergency departments, NHS Lanarskhire has warned as the health board continues to struggle with high demand.

The health board said longer waits than usual were due to the continued pressures of winter and Covid.

Officials repeated calls for members of the public to seek alternative care if possible, rather than going directly to A&E – including calling NHS 24 or visiting their GP.

"Our A&E departments are extremely busy today,” the health board said in a statement on social media on Sunday.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“Please only attend A&E if you have a serious condition that needs emergency care.”

NHS Lanarkshire currently has the worst A&E waiting times performance in Scotland, according to the most recent figures from Public Health Scotland.

In the week to February 20, just 61 per cent of patients visiting A&E were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The national average for that week was 70 per cent. The Scottish Government target is 95 per cent.

It comes after NHS Lanarkshire banned all but essential visiting at University Hospital Wishaw on Saturday.

The health board said it had taken the “difficult decision” in light of rising case numbers and continued pressure on services.

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“We understand that patients in hospital are having a challenging time and want to have their family and friends around them for support,” said Eddie Docherty, NHS Lanarkshire Executive Director of NMAHPs, Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals.

“Unfortunately, it is our priority to protect our patients and staff as much as is possible and this is why we have made the difficult decision to limit visiting at this time.

“However, this is being review daily and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be expanding visiting by prioritising access for those closest to the patient."

Visits from one person will continue at University Hospitals Monklands and Hairmyres.

In the week to February 20 some 57 per cent of visitors to A&E at University Hospital Wishaw were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The hospital was not the worst performing in the country, following Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University hospital at 52 per cent, and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at 55.

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