NHS Lothian worst ever A&E waiting times

NHS Lothian worst ever accident and emergency waiting times as the flu virus takes hold of the region and hospital staff battle ongoing winter pressures.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:57 am
NHS Lothian records worst A&E waiting times since records began.

In the latest weekly figures just 73.8% of patients were dealt within the four-hour target, a return that is well below the Scottish Government's 95% target.

The figure is the lowest since the weekly reporting of A&E performance began in February 2015 as NHS Lothian buckles under pressure brought about by winter weather with outbreaks of flu, respiratory illness and people falling on icy conditions, adding to their already considerable woes.

The NHS Lothian figure is also below the national average for the week ending January 7 which stands at 77.9% of patients being seen in the required four hours.

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At the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 63.1% of A&E patients were seen within four hours with 81 people waiting over 12 hours.

Shadow health secretary MIles Briggs said: "It is deeply concerning that we have seen the worst ever A&E waiting time for NHS Lothian since records began.

“It used to be that patients going to A&E would worry about not being seen within four hours - now we see people waiting over 12 hours.

“The SNP was repeatedly told about the challenges it would face this winter, but it seems those warnings have been ignored.

“Hardworking NHS staff right across the country are doing their best to make life easier for patients.

“But they’re simply not getting the support they deserve from the SNP government at this challenging time of year.”

The flu rate in Scotland doubled for a second week in a row and the number of people with flu-like illness is four times higher than the same period as last year.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Emergency departments continue to feel the effects of the steep rise in flu cases.

“Patients with flu-like illnesses are cared for in single rooms or in wards with other patients with the same type of flu. This is to ensure infection control and to reduce the spread, and while it can often mean waiting a little longer in A&E to be admitted, it is paramount for the safety of all patients.

“Despite the flu rate doubling in a week, A & E performance remained broadly the same, with nearly four out of five people attending A&E admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours. I thank again all health and social care staff who are delivering such fantastic patient care in this tough period."