Edinburgh Royal Infirmary: Are people dying because of a lack of beds? – Helen Martin

Scores of people are waiting more than 12 hours for treatment at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as medical staff are overwhelmed, writes Helen Martin.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 6:00 am
An ambulance outside A&E at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Little France

THE crisis of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary A&E being overwhelmed by the number of patients, and admitting that they couldn’t cope, was covered two weeks ago.

But now more revelations last week have revealed that 555 people have waited more than eight hours and 134 more than 12 hours. Yet Scotland is rated as having the best A&E in the UK.

Who with a dangerous condition would be made to wait for 12 hours? Surely in A&E emergencies would be seen first and others, at no risk, would be pushed to back of the queue. Why wouldn’t the latter be referred to their own doctor or the nearby minor injuries clinic?

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My busy GP surgery for 27 years has an open doctor surgery every weekday morning. No appointment needs to be booked if a patient can wait for about an hour. Blood tests, flu jabs and other treatments are pre-booked and dealt with by nurses. Yet several people with other surgeries have told me they have to wait for at least two weeks to see a doctor.

If A&E (with a minor injuries clinic nearby) can’t deal with all patients we need to know if that means people will die because we don’t have enough beds and Scotland can’t recruit enough medics and specialists; we need another A&E and general hospital in this city; we need open surgeries in all practices; and or anything else.

The public being repeatedly made scarily aware of the problem isn’t much use if we are not told specifically what is needed to solve it.