Accident and emergency departments in Scotland experienced the highest number of patients since the coronavirus lockdown began in the third week of June, new figures have shown.
NHS Scotland data reveals there were 21,356 attendances at A&E departments for the week ending June 21, an increase of 2,097 on the week before.
A&E attendances have fallen significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak and, despite the weekly rise, there were 7,891 fewer patients compared with the same time last year.
The last time A&E attendances were as high was in the week beginning March 9 – almost a fortnight before lockdown – when 24,052 people sought emergency medical help.
Of the patients attending A&E, 95.2% were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, exceeding the Scottish Government’s 95% target for the second consecutive week.
The percentage of patients seen within the target time is also far higher than at the same point in 2019, when 88% had to wait four hours or less.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The latest weekly A&E waiting-times figures show that for the week ending June 21, 95.2% of patients were seen and treated within four hours. This is thanks to the ongoing hard work and dedication of staff in our NHS.
“Although we are beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to physical distancing measures in order to protect themselves and others.
“Emergency departments remain open for people who need immediate care but we would urge those with non-urgent concerns to use the alternative treatment options available which are often more convenient and closer to home.
“These include contacting your GP practice, visiting a local pharmacy or NHS Inform online or calling NHS 24 on 111 who will provide advice and direct people to the most appropriate service.”