Scotland's A&E departments staggering from 'crisis to crisis'

A total of 1417 patients spent more than eight hours in an A&E department.

Scotland’s A&E departments staggering from ‘crisis to crisis’, health secretary Humza Yousaf warns iStock

Scotland’s accident and emergency departments are being allowed to stagger “from crisis to crisis”, it has been claimed, after new figures indicated that waiting times are at the worst level since early January.

According to official statistics published on Tuesday, 73.2% of patients were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within the Scottish Government’s four hours target.

It is below the Government’s aim of having 95% of patients seen within that time, with the target not having been met since July 2020.

The figures, for the week ending February 13 this year, there were 23,849 attendances at A&E services in NHS Scotland.

A total of 1417 patients spent more than eight hours in an A&E department, whilst a total of 498 patients spent more than 12 hours in an A&E department, the statistics showed.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie warned against “dangerously lengthy waits” in accident and emergency to become the “new normal”, as she criticised Scotland’s health secretary.

“For months Humza Yousaf has allowed our A&E departments across Scotland to stagger from crisis to crisis as thousands of Scots have waited hours and hours for vital treatment,” she said.

“Staff on the frontline have worked tirelessly, but have been continually failed by an SNP government that has refused to admit that the NHS, our most valued service, is in crisis.

“We cannot allow dangerously lengthy waits at A&E to become the new normal.

“Enough is enough – Humza Yousaf must act to end the chaos in A&E departments before lives are lost.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said that it was “unacceptable” than over a quarter of patients were having to wait for more than four hours to be seen.

“The pressure on our A&E wards ought to be easing as we pass the peak winter period and yet waiting times have worsened yet again,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable that more than a quarter of patients had to wait more than four hours to be seen – and intolerable that almost 500 were forced to wait half a day to be seen – because lives will be needlessly lost.”

Gulhane urged Scotland’s health secretary to set out a plan in order to tackle the issue.

“Every week, it seems, I call on Humza Yousaf to get to grips with this crisis and devise a coherent plan for tackling it but nothing changes,” he said.

“The health secretary appears wedded to his inadequate Covid recovery plan when it’s patently obvious it isn’t fit for purpose.

“Staff on Scotland’s under-resourced A&E frontline must be at their wits’ end – they have worked heroically throughout the pandemic yet been let down by the SNP Government.”

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