A&E waiting times situation is bleak and problems aren't going away

Patients are facing the longest waiting times ever recorded in Scotland's hospitals.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary among hospitals hit hardest by A&E delays as Covid cases rise Google Maps
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is among the hardest hit hospitals.

Patients at emergency departments in Scotland’s hospitals are facing some of the longest waiting times ever recorded as Covid continues to hit the health service.

Last week, just two-thirds of patients were seen within four hours of arriving at A&E, while almost 1000 waited more than half a day.

It’s a pretty bleak situation across Scotland at the moment.

Waiting times have been steadily increasing since the pandemic began, but now thousands of patients a week aren’t being seen for at least eight hours.

NHS Grampian, and in particular Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, is one of the health boards hit hardest.  

That’s down to a number of factors.

Firstly, of course, rising Covid cases – one in 18 people in Scotland is estimated to now have the virus – which has led to reduced capacity as patients can’t be discharged and there’s a drop in staff numbers.

This, coupled with the hospital seeing an unusually high number of people turning up to the department acutely ill and in need of urgent care, has led to frontline staff facing extreme pressure.

Patients are now being advised that if their condition isn’t life threatening, they should seek medical help elsewhere first. 

Grampian health bosses do want to reassure the public that cases are being triaged as normal – if you come to A&E with a heart attack or stroke, you will, of course, still be seen immediately.

But with the number of inpatients with Covid continuing to go up and transmission rates across Scotland still high, this issue isn’t going away any time soon.