The proportion of patients seen in Accident and Emergency departments within the four-hour target has fallen to the lowest level since 2019, the latest NHS Scotland figures show.
Almost a fifth (19.9%) of the 25,418 patients who attended A&E in the week ending July 11 waited more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged.
There were 712 patients who waited longer than eight hours, and a further 167 faced a wait of more than 12 hours.
The Scottish Government’s target is for 95% of patients to wait no longer than four hours, although this has not been met since July 2020.
The latest weekly figure of 80.1% compliance with the target is the lowest level recorded since December 2019.
Across Scotland, NHS Forth Valley is the worst-performing health board, with just 65.1% of 1,200 patients seen within four hours, followed by NHS Lanarkshire (68.5%) and then NHS Fife (79.4%).
The island health boards of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles were the only ones to exceed the 95% target, achieving 98.3%, 96.6% and 95.3% respectively.
The latest figures also show the total number of A&E attendances have been falling since reaching a pandemic peak of 28,492 during the first week of June.
Asked about the waiting time situation during the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The NHS is in a process of recovering from the Covid impact and that means getting non-Covid treatment back to normal, catching up in the backlog and bringing waiting times back to where we want them to be.
“Remember, pre-Covid we had a waiting times improvement plan in place that was starting to bring waiting times back to better levels but obviously that has been materially impacted by Covid.
“That will take time. I’m not willing to stand here and put a date on that but we will set out a more detailed NHS recovery plan shortly which will give more milestones around that.”
Scottish Conservatives health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “These figures should make for grim reading for SNP ministers.
“Our heroic frontline staff in Accident and Emergency departments are under ever-increasing pressure, yet are clearly not being fully supported by the SNP Government.
“It is completely unacceptable that hundreds of patients are having to wait hours on end as they require urgent treatment. This crisis in Accident and Emergency is not new.
“Even prior to the pandemic, SNP ministers were routinely failing to hit waiting time targets. It is a source of shame that they have missed their four-hour target for patients to be seen at Accident and Emergency for over a year now.
“The Scottish Conservatives will continue to push for a one-off £600 million investment in our health service, specifically designed to tackle waiting times, which are threatening to spiral out of control on the SNP’s watch.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe