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Almost 30% of patients waiting more than four hours at A&E

Almost 30% of attendees at A&E waited more than four hours for treatment (Peter Byrne/PA)
Almost 30% of attendees at A&E waited more than four hours for treatment (Peter Byrne/PA)

Almost 30% of attendees at A&E waited more than four hours for treatment, new figures show.

Public Health Scotland statistics published on Tuesday show 70.2% of those who attended emergency departments in the week up to May 15 were seen in less than four hours.

The Scottish Government target aims for 95% of patients to be seen and subsequently discharged or admitted within four hours.

The figure is a slight rise from the week before, when 69.6% were seen within the target time and remains higher than the lowest recorded figure of 66.2% seen in the week up to March 20.

Of the 26,979 attendees during the week, 8,040 waited more than four hours, 2,076 waited more than four hours and 626 waited more than 12 hours.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The latest weekly figures show seven out of 10 patients are being seen within the four-hour target in our A&E departments, despite the unprecedented and continued impact of the pandemic on services.

“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.”

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

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the figures were “atrocious”, adding: “It’s completely unacceptable that in the space of a week more than 8,000 people had to wait over four hours to be seen.

“And yet it’s almost become the default position that three in 10 people coming to A&E face these excessive waits because the SNP Government have missed their 95% target by such a huge margin for so long.

“The Health Secretary can’t just shrug his shoulders and accept this, because lives are being needlessly lost.

“He has to realise his flimsy Covid Recovery Plan isn’t fit for purpose and belatedly come up with a strategy for tackling this deadly crisis.”

While Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The continuing waiting times crisis in our A&E departments is becoming intolerable for patients and staff alike.

“The lack of action from the SNP/Green Government is providing no confidence that this crisis will abate any time soon.

“Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf have made it clear they would much rather pontificate endlessly on their latest push for independence rather than do what needs to be done to solve this crisis now. They are taking people for granted.”