Lothian’s hospitals beat weekly A&E wait times targets

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HEALTH bosses have hailed hard-working staff for meeting key government targets on how long patients should wait in accident and emergency departments.

The latest A&E weekly waiting times disclosures, published yesterday, reveal that NHS Lothian admitted 95.5 per cent of patients within strict government targets, which demand health boards see 95 per cent of casualty admissions within four hours. The national average was 90.1 per cent. The figures are an improvement on the previous week where 93.2 per cent of patients were seen within the time limit, while the week before 94.5 per cent of people were seen within four hours.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) performed well by treating 95.1 per cent within the time limit, as did the Sick Kids Hospital which saw 97.8 per cent of admissions.

However one patient at the ERI waited more than 12 hours for treatment, and nine people waited eight hours for treatment.

St John’s Hospital, near Livingston, just missed the wait times target by seeing 94.3 per cent of patients.

Melanie Johnson, Director of Unscheduled Care, NHS Lothian, said: “We are encouraged by these figures which show that we are continuing to provide swift and effective care for our patients at our Emergency Departments, including at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which is the busiest in Scotland.

“I would like to thank all of our staff for their hard work and dedication and assure patients that we are not complacent and will continue to improve access and systems to drive down waiting times.”

However union bosses warned against the figures being used as “a political football” and placing extra pressure on stretched staff.

Tom Waterson, Lothian branch chair for Unison, said: “The first thing I must do is congratulate the staff for the tremendous effort they have put in to achieve this.

“We still have huge concerns, though, that waiting times targets mean decisions are not being made based on clinical need.”

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com