The Royal infirmary of Edinburgh has not hit the accident and emergency (A&E) four-hour waiting time target at any time in the past six months, the Evening News can reveal.
According to the latest figures, the flagship hospital saw just 64 per cent of patients within four hours and has not hit the Scottish Government’s 95 per cent target figure since October 2017. It was the worst performing emergency department in Scotland during the week ending March 11 and, since the autumn, almost 12,000 patients have had to wait longer than four hours.
Hard-working staff are struggling to cope with the pressures at Scotland’s busiest A&E department, with the recent red alert weather warning adding to the stress.
NHS Lothian were caught up in an A&E waiting times scandal last year after an admission that its acute hospitals had previously “under-reported” the figures.
Before the misreporting came to light in October, the health board had been meeting the Scottish Government’s target of 95 per cent.
Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “It is totally unacceptable that patients at the RIE are having to wait longer to be seen by emergency departments than anywhere else in Scotland.
“The waiting times at RIE are virtually the same as they were at the start of this year, the worst they’ve ever been, when we had the flu outbreak.
“RIE is consistently amongst the hospitals with the longest A&E waiting times and SNP Ministers time and again take no responsibility for making improvements.”
Earlier this month, the Evening News reported how the RIE was facing a capacity crisis after staff claimed they were left with no beds for patients because of unprecedented demand. NHS Lothian later admitted “our acute hospitals are currently under exceptional pressure”.
Jim Crombie, deputy chief executive at NHS Lothian, said: “Our priority is to provide safe and effective treatment for patients and we apologise to patients who have waited longer than they should.”