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A&E departments fail to treat three out of 10 patients within four hours

New figures showed that three out of 10 patients waited four hours or more in A&E in the week ending June 12 (Peter Byrne/PA)
New figures showed that three out of 10 patients waited four hours or more in A&E in the week ending June 12 (Peter Byrne/PA)

Three out of 10 patients in accident and emergency waited longer than the four-hour target time in the first full week of June, new figures showed.

Of the 27,034 patients who attended at A&E in the week ending June 12, a total of 69.2% were seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The Scottish Government has set the target of having 95% of all patients dealt with within four hours.

But the latest weekly figures showed there were 8,335 patients who were there for longer than that.

This included 2,235 who were there for eight hours or more, with 761 spending 12 hours or more in A&E.

The figures, published by Public Health Scotland, showed that just two health boards met the 95% target – with NHS Western Isles and NHS Shetland dealing with 99.1% and 95.8% of patients within four hours respectively.

In NHS Forth Valley, which has just one hospital with A&E facilities, just under half (49.7%) of patients were either admitted, transferred or discharged within the target time.

Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, meanwhile, dealt with 47.5% of patients within the four-hour limit, while at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary 48.5% of patients were treated within the target time.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The latest weekly figures show that more than two-thirds of patients are being seen within the four-hour target, despite the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on services.

“We continue to see high levels of Covid transmission and people in our hospitals with the virus. As these numbers begin to ease we expect to see improvements in performance.”

The spokesperson continued: “Our new Urgent and Unscheduled Care Collaborative programme, which is supported by £50 million of funding, looks to support the implementation of a range of measures to reduce A&E waiting times and improve patient experience, this includes alternatives to hospital-based treatment.

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