Accident and emergency performance has improved for the third week in a row, according to the latest NHS Scotland figures.
More than three-quarters of patients (75.2%) were seen within four hours of arriving at an A&E department – up from 73.8% the previous week and the highest proportion for two months.
But after six months of deteriorating waiting time performance, the proportion of patients seen within the four-hour target still lags almost 20 percentage points behind the Scottish Government’s 95% benchmark.
In the week ending November 14, 24,717 patients attended A&E with 6,125 patients waiting more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged.
Of those, 1,243 waited longer than eight hours and 331 patients had a wait of 12 hours or more.
NHS Forth Valley, which has recorded the 14 worst performances in the previous three months, saw its compliance decrease from 58.9% to 57.8%.
Only NHS Shetland and NHS Orkney exceeded the 95% target.
Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Yet again, the SNP Government are miles away from meeting their A&E waiting time target.
“It’s unacceptable that a quarter of patients are still not being seen within four hours, even with the fabulous support provided by UK Armed Forces. And these figures come after weeks of pleas from Humza Yousaf for only those with life-threatening conditions to attend A&E.
“This strategy of pushing more and more patients towards GP services has had a minimal effect on the A&E crisis, while heaping more pressure on another overwhelmed part of Scotland’s NHS.
“Since the escalation of the ambulance crisis several months ago, the Health Secretary has made a series of knee-jerk reactions, which we said would not make a difference because there is no joined-up strategy and forward planning.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are seeing a steady improvement in these figures in recent weeks following our investment to address capacity issues in A&E, but we know that emergency units across the UK continue to be hit by the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19.
“We know that performance may fluctuate as we get into the winter months, but Scotland’s core A&E departments continue to outperform those in the rest of the UK, and have done so for more than six years, with today’s figures confirming three-quarters of people were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours at our A&E departments.
“The Health Secretary has been very clear this will be the most difficult winter in NHS history and that’s why we’ve announced £300 million of measures to increase NHS and social care capacity as part of our strategy to simultaneously tackle the various issues combining in extra A&E waits.
“Alongside the additional £10 million investment recently announced to prevent delayed discharge and avoid hospital stays, we recently announced a further £10 million in winter funding which aims to ease pressures in A&E departments and minimise delays that patients are currently experiencing when they need urgent care.
“This includes co-ordinated work to reduce the time people need to spend in hospital so that others can be admitted quickly. It also includes the deployment of expert physio and occupational therapy staff at A&E units to help triage people best treated elsewhere.”
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