NHS promised £50m to boost A&E care

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HEALTH secretary Alex Neil has announced a £50 million funding drive to improve care in Scottish hospitals amid concerns of a crisis in accident and emergency departments.

The government has faced recent claims that some patients were being left waiting for hours on trolleys as pressure on the system began to take its toll.

Admissions to A&E departments in Scotland are expected to soar over the next few years.

Despite a government drive to push numbers down, the number of emergency patients is expected to go up by 13.5 per cent by the end of the decade. The majority of people who go to A&E “don’t need to be there” and could get more appropriate treatment somewhere else, the government believes.

“That’s why we have looked at the whole system and developed this action plan to improve how quickly people are seen in our hospitals, who treats them and how quickly we can get them back on their feet,” Mr Neil said.

More than £50m will now be invested over the next three years in an effort to change the way people are seen when they are admitted to hospital. Greater efforts will also be made to allow people to leave hospital as soon as they are ready, while health boards will be able to increase the frontline staff numbers and introduce more flexible hours.

It comes after figures released by the Tories in October showed that in the last four years, 52 people waited more than 24 hours in A&E to be seen before being properly admitted or discharged in the last four years.

They claimed 65 others had been delayed by more than 18 hours – despite a Scottish Government target to see patients within four hours at A&E departments.

Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said A&E staff would be disheartened that efforts to reduce this pressure had been “abandoned”.