Covid Edinburgh: Calls for new isolation rules as A&E waiting times rise at struggling hospitals

Lothian Tory MSP Sue Webber has accused ministers of taking their eye off the ball after accident and emergency waiting times reached their worst since before the pandemic.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:45 pm

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Latest figures show that only 81.6 per cent of patients across Scotland were seen within the target four hours, the lowest since January 2020, when 81.5 per cent of patients were seen within the time.

In Lothian, 84.2 per cent of patients were seen in four hours. No mainland health board met the Scottish Government target of 95 per cent.

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The emergency department at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Ms Webber said: “Our health service staff in NHS Lothian are continuing to go above and beyond and are under ever increasing pressure.

“As they continue to fight Covid, it is imperative that SNP Ministers urgently give NHS Lothian the resources they require to see as many patients as possible within four hours at A&E.

“It is clear SNP ministers have taken their eye off the ball as more patients attend our A&E departments. It is hugely concerning that many patients are waiting well over four hours to be treated.

“SNP ministers should urgently back Scottish Conservative plans for a one-off £600 million investment in our NHS to specifically tackle waiting times.

“They also must look at ways in which the current rules on self-isolation for fully vaccinated staff can be changed. That is only increasing pressure on other staff and meaning vital health services are not operating at full capacity.

“Prior to the pandemic, the SNP were routinely missing key targets and their record on health was truly abysmal. They need to up their game and ensure that patients don’t continue to be left waiting for hours for urgent treatment.”

Edinburgh Western MSP and Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton also called for a change on self-isolation policy.

He said: “We know that the number of people having to self-isolate is spiralling. That’s a real danger to the wider health service and beyond. The staff left behind face a desperate situation, as the workload piles up but there aren’t enough people to cope with it.

“The Scottish Government need to come forward with concrete actions and urgent changes. That means a test and release system, as recommended by the Royal College of Surgeons and others. They must make sure Scotland has a functioning healthcare system.”

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