SNP attacked over hidden A&E waiting lists

HIDDEN A&E waiting lists are in place across Scotland's hospitals with patients facing lengthy delays after being referred by a GP, Labour has claimed.

Simpson: postcode lottery. Picture: Greg Macvean

Health secretary Shona Robison is facing criticism over the revelations after pledging a “transparent and accountable” NHS.

The immediate assessment unit is separate from normal accident and emergency departments and involves patients who have been referred there by a doctor.

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There are a number of units like this across Scotland operating under different names.

Last year it was reported that an elderly patient died on a trolley after waiting eight hours for treatment in the immediate assessment unit at the new £850 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Labour public services spokesperson Dr Richard Simpson said: “In Scotland today, we have hidden A&E waiting lists. These are wards filled with patients who a doctor has judged sick enough to go to hospital; these patients face a postcode lottery in terms of the care they will receive.”

But a spokesman for Robison said the Labour claims are “simply not true”.

“We are the only country in the whole of the UK to publish a weekly update on our A&E waiting times, for every major site across Scotland,” he added.

“Immediate assessment units, also known as acute assessment units, are very different from A&E units – that’s why they are treated differently.”