Leader comment: NHS crisis must be tackled

Another day, another set of dire statistics about the performance of Scotland's NHS.

Ambulances arrive at an Accident and Emergency department Picture: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

Days after the British Medical Association (BMA) warned the health service is at “breaking point” north of the Border, figures released yesterday showed 101 patients spent more than 12 hours in accident and emergency (A&E) departments in the first week of the new year.

The Scottish Government target is to have at least 95 per cent of all A&E patients seen, admitted and transferred or discharged within four hours.

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But the latest figures show that in the week ending January 8, just 87.9 per cent of the 25,066 attendances at emergency departments across Scotland were dealt with within that time frame.

It is the third lowest percentage since A&E statistics began being published on a weekly basis in March 2015.

A breakdown of the most recent figures shows 454 patients (1.8 per cent) spent more than eight hours in A&E, while 0.4 per cent spent more than 12 hours.

While the Scottish Government has done a good job of distancing itself from the apparent turmoil affecting the NHS in England and Wales, that is more a matter of presentation than the reality on the ground.

With control of healthcare devolved to the Scottish Parliament for the best part of 20 years, it is simply not good enough for the SNP to raise comparisons with other parts of the UK when criticised for its record on the NHS.

It’s time our politicians came up with a concrete proposals to address chronic problems in the health service and pull it back from the brink.