December's A&E waiting performance worst since target was set

Waiting times for Accident and Emergency treatment hit their worst levels on record in December, official NHS statistics have revealed.
Shona Robison, Health SecretaryShona Robison, Health Secretary
Shona Robison, Health Secretary

The most recent monthly statistics showed 85.1 per cent of the 141,988 patients attending A&E services were admitted, transferred or discharged within the Scottish Government’s four-hour target time. This was the lowest since the 95 per cent target was set in 2007.

A total of 3,301 (2.5 per cent) patients waited for more than eight hours while 817 (0.6 per cent) waited for more than 12 hours in December.

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The figures saw the Scottish Conservatives claim that the Scottish Government was mismanaging the NHS and failing patients.

Shadow Health Secretary Miles Briggs said: “After 10 years in government the SNP’s management of the Scottish health service has led to the longest A&E waiting times for more than six years.

“Clearly this undermines any excuses about winter pressures.

“As a result of the SNP’s mismanagement thousands of patients are waiting, many in pain and discomfort, for more than four hours, while thousands are waiting more than eight hours.

“The SNP has repeatedly broken its own target and, by its own measure, is failing the NHS and failing patients.”

Since December the weekly A&E figures show an improvement in waiting-time.

For emergency departments for the week ending January 28, 89.7 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.

This is up for the third week running from a low of 77 per cent but down from 92.5 per cent in the same period last year.

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Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “It is positive news that, for the third week in a row, A&E waiting-times are improving across Scotland and nine out of ten people were admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours.

“Flu-like illness has hit hospitals hard this winter and the flu rate is still four times higher than the same period last year.

“I’d urge anyone eligible for the free flu vaccine to take advantage as it’s quick, easy and the best protection against flu.

“Figures today also show that Scotland’s core A&E departments have outperformed the UK for nearly three years and I’d like to thank staff right across Scotland’s health and social care systems for their consistent hard work, all year round.”