A TEAM of hospital troubleshooters has been sent into the new £842 million South Glasgow University facility to drive down lengthy waits faced by patients.
Opposition parties warned there are “fundamental problems” at the flagship hospital, which only opened in April, after official figures yesterday showed it has the worst waiting times in Scotland and the situation has deteriorated in the past month.
“We have moved into the realm of serious failings”Ruth Davidson, Tory leader
Hundreds of patients were forced to wait longer than the four-hour benchmark to be seen in A&E – while dozens were forced to wait more than eight hours.
The 1,109-bed hospital was built on the site of the Southern General, replacing three Glasgow hospitals, and is one of the largest acute hospitals in the UK. But it has already been plagued with a host of problems, including some patients having to wait in corridors to be seen.
Health secretary Shona Robison said services at the new facility have generally bedded in well, but some problems were always likely in the opening weeks.
“This move will put in place further on-site support to help the existing teams,” she said. Ms Robison said the expert support from the Scottish Government would help establish improved management systems to ensure the “smooth transfer” of patients through the emergency department.
She added: “Performance against the four-hour target in accident and emergency has dipped and is some way off the national average.
“We always expected there to be some initial challenges around performance as staff from all three sites got used to working in their new environment; however in the interests of patients in Glasgow, we have agreed with the board to offer the considerable expertise in unscheduled care at our disposal.”
The new figures revealed yesterday showed that 378 patients – almost a quarter of all those turning up –had to wait more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged. There were 48 patients who had to wait more than eight hours and eight were there for longer than 12 hours.
Overall, 78.3 per cent of patients were seen and treated within four hours at the South Glasgow University Hospital. This is down from 83.2 per cent last month and compares with a national target of 95 per cent.
The average in Greater Glasgow and Clyde was 87.5 per cent, and the Scotland-wide average of 92.6 per cent.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “This is supposed to be Scotland’s flagship hospital, but these figures show that we have moved beyond teething problems and into the realm of serious failings.
“The Scottish Government can’t hide behind excuses any longer when staff, unions and organisations have all given warnings that problems needed fixed.
“Changes to the NHS in Glasgow were signed off by Nicola Sturgeon when she was health minister. This is on her desk and it’s time she focused on dealing with it.”
The health secretary said she has been receiving “daily updates” and the “Unscheduled Care” team at the Scottish Government has been in regular contact with the board.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Jenny Marra questioned Ms Robison’s claim that the integration of services had gone “extremely smoothly” since the new hospital opened.