Quarter of patients at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary A&E have to wait more than four hours

NHS Lothian at bottom of league for emergency department waiting times

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 6:00 am
NHS Lothian has apologised to patients who had to wait longer than they should

LATEST figures for waiting times at accident and emergency departments across Scotland show patients in Lothian had the worst chance of being seen within the four-hour target.

The Scottish Government says 95 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arrival at A&E.

But in Lothian 81.4 per cent of patients were seen within the target time in November.

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And at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary the figure was just 74.2 per cent, meaning more than a quarter had to wait over four hours.

Across the country, the proportion of A&E patients seen within the four-hour target was the second-lowest level since NHS Scotland records began - 85.5 per cent compared with the previous worst of 85.1 per cent in December 2017.

There were 10,495 attendances at the Royal Infirmary’s A&E in November - 697 spent more than eight hours there and 210 more than 12 hours.

At St John’s Hospital, Livingston, A&E saw 4,944 patients - 85.3 per cent were seen within four hours, 204 waited over eight hours and 64 over 12.

The Sick Kids A&E saw 94.1 per cent of patients within the target time, eight waited more than eight hours and only one more than 12.

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “These dreadful statistics are the result of the SNP’s decisions to reduce capacity and staff numbers within our NHS.

“Hospital staff are clearly unable to cope and the result on morale is devastating.”

And Labour’s Monica Lennon said: “Experts have been warning for months about a lack of preparedness in our NHS for winter pressures. NHS staff are being pushed to breaking point and our hospitals are struggling like never before.”

NHS Lothian medical director Dr Tracey Gillies apologised to patients who had had to wait longer than they should and said the health board was working hard to provide the highest quality of care.

"Along with the significant rise in patients attending emergency departments in Lothian, we are seeing a particular rise in those attending with complex cases. We are currently working on a redesign of our services to help create more capacity to tackle the increased demand."

"We would ask patients to make sure they consider their options such as pharmacies, GPs, minor injuries units, NHS 24, opticians or dentists before attending emergency departments. We want to make sure that patients are seen by the right health care professional in the right place.”