Nearly 30% of Scottish A&E patients waiting longer than four hours

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Nearly 30% of A&E patients waited longer than four hours for treatment, with the weekly waiting time performance percentage unchanged from last week.

In the week ending May 22, 70.2% of patients were seen within the four-hour standard, statistics from Public Health Scotland showed.

The figure is the same as the week ending May 15, though the number of attendances at Scottish A&E units increased slightly.

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There were 27,091 attendances in the most recent figures, up from 26,979 in the previous week.

Nearly 30% of A&E patients waited longer than four hours for treatmentNearly 30% of A&E patients waited longer than four hours for treatment
Nearly 30% of A&E patients waited longer than four hours for treatment

For the week ending May 22, 1,981 patients were waiting longer than eight hours and 649 waited longer than 12 hours.

Compliance with the four-hour waiting time standard has been below 80% since the start of the year.

Commenting on the figures, Scottish Conservative MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said they were “dreadful”.

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Dr Gulhane said: “The Health Secretary appears to have given up on rectifying this never-ending crisis, judging by his silence on the matter.

“But we can’t allow it to become the norm that three in 10 people have to wait four hours to be seen in our emergency wards, and that several hundred every week have to wait half a day to be seen.

“Lives are needlessly being lost every week because of these unacceptable delays – and it could be your mum or dad, your sibling or your partner.

“Once again, these A&E figures are dreadful.

“The SNP Government’s shocking workforce planning is letting down patients, but it’s also a betrayal of frontline A&E staff, who are working incredibly hard while being denied the resources to cope with demand.”

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said the impact of the massive demand of coronavirus on the health service was still having a knock-on effect which was reflected in waiting times delays and other hold-ups but insisted A&E north of the border was performing better than it is in the rest of the UK.

The spokesman added: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on hospitals and services, despite this the latest weekly figures show seven out of 10 patients are being seen in our A&E departments within the four-hour target.

“We know the situation may fluctuate as hospitals manage pandemic-related challenges and backlogs, but we expect the pressure in A&E to ease as Covid cases continue to decrease.

“Hospitals continue to face capacity issues as a result of high demand, staff absence and reduced beds due to infection control requirements, while high numbers of patients presenting who are acutely unwell is leading to a longer length of time spent in hospital and impacting on flow.

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“For many, A&E will not be the right place for their healthcare need. People should consider whether their condition is an emergency, such as a stroke, heart attack or major trauma, before going to A&E. Local GPs can be contacted during the day for non-critical care, as well as local pharmacies. The NHS 24 telephone service is available on 111 for non-emergency inquiries.

“Scotland continues to have the best performing A&Es in the UK, outperforming those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for over six years.”

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