Edinburgh Royal Infirmary A&E waiting times the second worst in Scotland, according to latest NHS data

Edinburgh hospital one of only two in the country seeing less than half of A&E patients in under four hours
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The latest NHS data shows Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has the second worst accident and emergency waiting times in the country, and is one of only two still treating less than half of patients within four hours.

It comes after Scotland's accident and emergency departments have achieved their best performance against waiting time targets since May last year – with the latest weekly figures showing seven out of 10 patients were seen within the target time.

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However, two hospitals treated fewer than half of A&E patients within the four hour target – with just 40.1 per cent of patients seen within this time at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and 45.9 per cent of patients at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has the second worst performing A&E in Scotland. Pic Greg Macvean.Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has the second worst performing A&E in Scotland. Pic Greg Macvean.
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has the second worst performing A&E in Scotland. Pic Greg Macvean.

Jacquie Campbell, chief officer, acute services, NHS Lothian said: “The Emergency Department in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is the busiest in Scotland and our services are continuing to experience unprecedented and prolonged levels of demand as well as acuity. We apologise to patients who have been affected by lengthy waits and I would reassure them that our teams are working tirelessly to ensure that we prioritise the most clinically urgent patients by managing our resources and staff to improve flexibility and support patient flow.

“We are urging everyone to get the right care in the right place and only visit A&E or call 999 in a critical emergency. If you have a minor injury or need urgent care, which is not a critical emergency, please call 111 to be referred to the right service and allocated an appointment if appropriate. It is important to remember that there is self-care information on NHS Inform, and that local pharmacies, GPs, dental practices or opticians may be a more appropriate route to treatment and care.”

‘Progress is a testament to the exceptional efforts of NHS staff’

NHS data for the week ending January 22 showed that of the 21,527 people who attended emergency departments across the country, 70.1 per cent were seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged. The total is still well below the Scottish Government target of having 95 per cent of cases in A&E dealt with within four hours.

But it is the highest proportion of patients treated within the target time since the week ending May 22, 2022 - eight months ago. Public Health Scotland statistics showed that 6,435 people spend four hours or more in A&E in the week ending January 22 - down from 7,423 the previous week and from a high of 11,493 in mid-December. The latest data also showed 2,331 patients in A&E for eight hours or more, down from 3,015 the previous week - while the number spending half a day or more there dropped from 1,504 to 1,031

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In the midst of what ministers have described as the toughest winter ever for the NHS, performance fell to a record low of 55.1 per cent nationally against the four-hour target in the week ending December 18.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said he was "encouraged to see improvements in our weekly performance" - noting that although the number attending at A&E had increased, the number of patients with long waits had gone down. He stated: "Waits of over eight hours have gone down by around 53 per cent since the recent peak over the holiday period, with 12-hour waits decreasing by 59 per cent. Performance over four hours is the best we have seen since last May, this is welcome and recent progress is a testament to the exceptional efforts of NHS staff."

Additional reporting by PA.