Scotland A&E problems: 'Enough is enough', say Tories, as waiting time figures hit new low

The Scottish Tories have said “enough is enough” after the number of patients being seen within target waiting times at Scotland’s emergency departments hit another new low.

Just 61.9 per cent of people attending accident-and-emergency (A&E) departments in the week up to November 27 were seen and subsequently admitted or discharged within four hours, according to figures from Public Health Scotland.

The Scottish Government aims for 95 per cent of people to be seen within the four-hour, time limit. The figure dropped from 63.1 per cent the week before.

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As well as the weekly figures, the record of A&E in October was the worst monthly performance on record, when 67.6 per cent were seen within the target time. Of the 24,995 people who attended A&E in the week up to November 27, some 1,226 waited longer than 12 hours, while 3,363 waited more than eight hours.

Accident-and-emergency figures have hit a new low. Picture: John Devin

A total of 9,532 attendees were waiting longer than four hours, the figures showed.

At the flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, just 36.8 per cent of people at A&E were dealt with in four hours, although the figure rose from 35.1 per cent the week before.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “A&E performance is not where it needs to be.” But the Scottish Tories repeated their calls for the health secretary to be sacked.

Nicola Sturgeon cannot continue to stand idly by week after week as Scotland’s A&E wards plumb new depths under her hopeless health secretary,” said Dr Sandesh Gulhane.

“Sacking Humza Yousaf won’t solve things over night, but it’s clear he’s part of the problem, not the solution. His flimsy recovery plan isn’t working and he’s lost the trust of shattered patients and staff.

“The tragic reality, which we must never forget or accept, is that these latest worst-ever figures translate to even more needless deaths on Scotland’s emergency wards.”

Dr Gulhane added: “It’s clear the system is broken and dedicated staff and worried patients are paying a heavy price for SNP mismanagement of our A&E departments. Instead of coming up with a coherent plan to tackle the crisis, all Humza Yousaf can do is spin dodgy data to protect himself and this SNP Government.

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“Enough is enough. We can’t go on like this. Nicola Sturgeon must act without further delay and sack Humza Yousaf now.”

Responding to the figures, Mr Yousaf said: “A number of factors are driving up A&E waits, including the level of delayed discharge, which is why we are working with health boards to ensure people leave hospital without delay, freeing up vital beds for those who need them most.

“We will continue to see fluctuations in figures over winter. Despite this, I am clear that A&E performance is not where it needs to be.

“Our network of Flow Navigation Centres, in place all across the country, are a key asset in relieving pressure on A&E – directing people towards the most appropriate urgent care and offering rapid access to a clinician and scheduled in-person, phone or video appointments, where appropriate, to avoid unnecessary long waits.

“More than 23,000 patients have avoided an unnecessary trip to a physical A&E through NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s virtual service alone.”

The Scottish Lib Dems accused the Health Secretary of losing control of the NHS.

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