One in 20 people face waits of over 12 hours in Scottish A&Es, new figures show

The NHS is in a state of ‘perpetual crisis’ say opposition MSPs
Health Secretary Neil GrayHealth Secretary Neil Gray
Health Secretary Neil Gray

Ministers have been accused of presiding over a “permanent crisis” in Scotland’s accident and emergency departments, as figures showed a rise in the number of patients suffering the longest waits.

In the week ending March 24, one in 20 patients (5 per cent) in A&E took more than 12 hours to be either admitted, transferred or discharged – with 1,344 people waiting that long.

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That is up from the total of 1,277 the previous week, according to Public Health Scotland.

1,344 people waited over 12 hours last week1,344 people waited over 12 hours last week
1,344 people waited over 12 hours last week

The most recent figures showed across Scotland of the 26,867 people who went to A&E for help, 65.4 per cent were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four hour target time.

That is up from the performance of 62.8 per cent recorded the previous week, but remains well below the Scottish Government target of 95 per cent.

Two health boards met the target of dealing with 95 per cent of cases in A&E inside four hours, with NHS Western Isles achieving 95.8 per cent, while NHS Orkney dealt within 97.1 per cent of patients in A&E in the target time. But two hospitals dealt with less than half of patients in A&E inside four hours – with 47.3 per cent of patients at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, ahead of the 45.8 per cent achieved at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Opposition politicians hit out at the Scottish Government, with Conservative health spokesperson, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, claiming: “The SNP are presiding over a permanent crisis in Scotland’s A&E departments.”

The Tory MSP, who is also a GP, added that the Government’s “dire workforce planning and Humza Yousaf’s flimsy Covid recovery plan mean that patients and staff have had to endure the worst ever waiting times to ever occur on record in a February”.

Dr Gulhane warned: “These excessive delays – with over 1,300 patients waiting half a day to be seen this week – cause needless deaths.”

Labour health spokesperson Dame Jackie Baillie said: “Four years on from the start of the pandemic and Scotland’s NHS remains in perpetual crisis.

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“NHS staff are working tirelessly but they are being failed by an out-of-touch SNP Government that has run out of ideas.”

Mr Gray said: “We know that the health service remains under sustained pressure. Waiting times are longer than we want them to be for too many patients, and we continue to work with boards to reduce these instances.

“Despite this, the monthly statistics show an improvement in A&E performance.”

monthly figures for delayed discharge in Scottish NHS hospitals showed an increase in February.

Meanwhile, separate figures showed figures for delayed discharge in Scottish NHS hospitals increasing in February. There were 1,914 people delayed at the February census point, up by 3 per cent compared with January.

The median length of delays was 22 days, the same as the previous month.

Meanwhile, the average number of hospital beds occupied each day by people whose discharge has been delayed was 1,874.

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