Covid Scotland: Scottish A&E waiting times worst since December as health boards warn of high pressure

Waiting times at A&E departments in Scotland are at their worst since December, new figures show.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:15 am

It comes as health boards around the country warn of high pressure on services and longer than usual wait times.

In the week to July 4, just 81.6 per cent of patients arriving at A&E were seen and admitted to hospital or discharged within four hours.

The Scottish Government target is at least 95 per cent.

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Ambulances at the Glasgow Royal Hospital. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The figure is the lowest since the week of December 22, when it fell to 79.8 per cent in the wake of a massive spike in Covid cases cases which would force Scotland back into lockdown on Boxing Day.

Broken down by NHS board, the figures vary from 70.5 per cent seen within four hours in NHS Lanarkshire to 97.9 per cent in NHS Orkney - although the latter included just 146 attendances at A&E.

Some 75.1 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in NHS Forth Valley.

Several health boards have warned of “exceptional pressure” in recent weeks.

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In most cases this is not due to high numbers of people in hospital with Covid – although numbers have risen – but because of a combination of non-Covid illnesses in hospital and high Covid cases in the community, meaning staff having to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

Judith Park, Director of Acute Services at NHS Lanarkshire said: “Our A&E departments continue to be extremely busy just now and we are asking people to please keep our A&Es safe for those who need critical care by accessing the appropriate healthcare service for their ailment.”

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: Forth Valley Royal Hospital has been busy over the last few weeks and we have seen an increase in the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19

"Like most parts of Scotland, we have also seen an increase in A&E attendances which are now similar to pre-Covid levels.

"We are continuing to provide a range of outpatient, day case, scans and surgical procedures as part of our ongoing service remobilisation plans.”

Several hospitals in Aberdeenshire and Highland warned of long A&E waiting times which may be reflected in statistics published next week, after declaring themselves at capacity or “code black” last week.

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