How long are people waiting for hospital treatment in your area?

The number of people waiting more than 12 hours at A&E is at its highest ever level.

Scotland’s record A&E times: How long are people waiting for hospital treatment in your area? Sudok1 via iStock

The number of people enduring long waits at Scotland’s emergency departments hit a record high last week – with almost 1,300 patients waiting more than a half a day to be treated.

In the week up to August 21, some 1,287 people waited more than 12 hours before being admitted or discharged at A&E, according to new figures released by Public Health Scotland.

It is an increase of 983 on the previous week and rises above the previous high of 1,190 – recorded in the week up to July 3.

The number of people waiting longer than eight hours was also at a new high, with 3,159 recorded – up from 2,880 the week before.

The Scottish Government aims to have at least 95% of patients at A&E seen and admitted or discharged within four hours, but this figure sat at just 65% in the week of July 6, the second lowest on record.

Long waits

In the week ending August 21, there were 26,017 attendances at emergency departments in Scotland.

Some 65% of attendances were seen – resulting in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours.

But Public Health Scotland data shows 3,159 patients spent more than eight hours in an emergency department, while 1,287 patients spent more than 12 hours.

Here is a breakdown of A&E attendances across the country by health board area, as well as the percentage of patients seen within four hours.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran1,81371.3
NHS Borders63366.5
NHS Dumfries and Galloway90781.4
NHS Fife1,26859.7
NHS Forth Valley1,14940.3
NHS Grampian1,93764.4
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde6,43962.6
NHS Highland1,36380.3
NHS Lanarkshire4,00655.1
NHS Lothian4,49362.7
NHS Orkney17586.3
NHS Shetland14796.6
NHS Tayside1,54192.3
NHS Western Isles14697.3
NHS Scotland26,01765

NHS Grampian were not able to provide data for March-June 2022, while NHS Tayside has not been able to provide data for May-June.

Public Health Scotland

Meanwhile, Public Health Scotland released separate figures on Tuesday showing more than a quarter of patients are not being treated within a Scottish Government target of 18 weeks from referral.

In the three months up to June 30, 73.6% of patients were reported as being treated within the timeframe.

The figure is 0.9% higher than in the previous quarter, but still falls well below the Scottish Government’s 90% target.

‘Referral to treatment’ measures the period from a GP referral to the point at which each patient is actually admitted to hospital for treatment.

Public Health Scotland

Some 209,912 patients were treated under the standard across all health boards except NHS Grampian and NHS Tayside.

There were 22% fewer people treated at quarter-end June 2022 when compared to quarter-end June 2019, which saw 269,687 patients, Public Health Scotland said.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran69.93,7371,609
NHS Borders76.11,577495
NHS Dumfries and Galloway731,327490
NHS Fife73.23,5431,300
NHS Forth Valley69.73,7641,635
NHS GrampianN/AN/AN/A
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde76.412,3803,815
NHS Highland69.44,2851,885
NHS Lanarkshire72.36,2752,399
NHS Lothian75.66,4752,088
NHS Orkney87.657982
NHS Shetland87.831043
NHS TaysideN/AN/AN/A
NHS Western Isles87.145968
Golden Jubilee National Hospital88.111816

What is the Scottish Government saying?

Health secretary Humza Yousaf asked Scots to consider whether they need to visit A&E during winter, when pressure is expected to increase.

“Occupancy and staffing pressures remain high across emergency departments and continue to have an impact on the delivery of services,” he said in a statement.

“Covid has not gone away, but despite this, almost two-thirds of patients are being seen within four hours of arrival.

 Health secretary Humza Yousaf.STV News

“As we begin to enter the winter period, people should consider whether their condition is an emergency, such as a stroke, heart attack or major trauma, before going to A&E. Local GPs and pharmacies can be contacted during the day for non-critical care, NHS 24 is also available day or night on 111 for non-emergency inquiries.

“Through our urgent and unscheduled care collaborative programme we are investing £50m to drive down waiting times, including further development of flow navigation centres in every board to ensure rapid access to a clinician and scheduled appointments, where possible.

“This will avoid people waiting in A&E waiting rooms unnecessarily.”

‘Damning indictment of SNP mismanagement’

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “We know excess delays inevitably translate to needless deaths, which is why the record number of patients waiting more than eight hours and more than 12 hours to be seen is so alarming.

“It’s completely unacceptable, and a damning indictment of SNP mismanagement, that nearly 1,300 patients in one week alone had to wait more than half a day to be seen in Scotland’s emergency wards.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane.STV News

“Rather than seeking to lower public expectations further by warning of worse to come over the winter, the health secretary should be redrawing his woefully inadequate plan to prevent this crisis worsening.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton urged Yousaf to come up with a plan to fix emergency departments ahead of parliament returning from recess next week.

“Humza Yousaf’s last significant intervention was the NHS Recovery Plan over a year ago, which wasn’t worth the paper it was written on because waits have spiralled ever since,” he said.

Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.STV News

“There has been no recovery, and the minister has done nothing to reverse the decline.

“We need to see action now. He should come to parliament next week with a new plan. These waits will put lives at risk. Every week we get closer to a deeper disaster in our NHS this winter.

“Yet people are being taken for granted by SNP ministers who are shifting their attentions and taxpayers’ money to independence.”

Surgeries cancelled in NHS Lothian area

Surgeries have been cancelled after a water leak forced the closure of a hospital sterilisation and decontamination unit.

The facility, where surgical instruments are cleaned and prepared in an ultra-clean environment, serves the whole of NHS Lothian.

The closure forced the postponement of planned and non-emergency surgery on Friday and over the weekend and will mean no routine elective procedures can go ahead.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.iStock

NHS Lothian says agreements have been reached with other boards and external providers for the sterilisation of surgical instruments.

That will allow the usual schedule of surgery to resume by the end of this week.

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