WAITING times in hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments have improved since January despite a dip in weekly performance, new statistics show.
The latest figures show that in the week ending Sunday March 29, A&E units dealt with 26,465 patients.
A total of 91.3 per cent were seen, treated and either discharged or admitted within the target time of four hours, a slight drop from 91.7 per cent the previous week.
Of those, 213 had to wait more than eight hours to be seen while 22 spent 12 hours or more in A&E.
Separate statistics looking at monthly performance against the target show 87.9 per cent of of people were seen within time in the month ending February 28, up from 87.1 per cent in January.
The Scottish Government has set an interim goal of treating 95 per cent of people in four hours, in advance of meeting the full target of 98 per cent.
Health Secretary Shona Robison emphasised a five percentage-point increase in performance since weekly A&E figures were first published in February, with attendances increasing 4 per cent over the same period.
The total number of people attending A&E in the 12 months from March last year to February was 1,644,341, up from 1,613,737 the previous year.
Ms Robison said: “As the weekly figures for February have already shown us, this year’s winter was a very challenging one for our A&E departments.
“However, we are seeing signs of improvement with waits reducing in February when compared to January, and further improvement throughout March.
“Attendances at A&E over the last year have also risen when compared to the two previous years, however it is encouraging to see that long waits have dropped significantly since the start of the year, with figures for week ending March 29 showing that 0.8 per cent of patients waited for more than eight hours.”
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume said: “It’s disappointing once again to see that whilst NHS staff are doing their utmost to deliver excellent patient care, the SNP Government doesn’t have its priorities straight.
“NHS staff need more resources and only Liberal Democrats are committed to delivering an £800 million boost to the Scottish NHS.
“With 2,754 patients facing waits of over eight hours, the SNP Government must set out what it is going to do to support Scotland’s health service.”
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