Humza Yousaf has been warned of a “perpetual crisis” in Scotland’s NHS, after the A&E waiting time target was missed once again.
The Scottish Government’s aim is for 95% of patients to be either discharged or admitted within four hours.
However, during the week ending May 8, only 69.6% of the 26,219 attendances at A&E services in NHS Scotland met this target.
The statistics, published by Public Health Scotland, showed that 2132 patients spent more than eight hours in an A&E department.
And a total of 645 patients spent more than 12 hours in an A&E department in Scotland.
The record low for A&E waiting times was recorded earlier this year when 66.2% of attendances were seen within the target period in the week up to March 20.
Yousaf, who is Scotland’s health secretary, has been urged to tackle the problem.
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie stated that A&E staff are being failed by Yousaf.
“Another week, another set of damning statistics from Scotland’s A&E departments,” said Baillie.
“These are not mere numbers – these are mothers, fathers, children and grandparents.
“A&E staff are working tirelessly but they are being failed by a health minister who is more concerned with bolstering the ranks of spin doctors than supporting frontline nursing staff.
“With so many people waiting unacceptable lengths of time at the QEUH, it is clear that this winter NHS crisis has become a perpetual crisis. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“Humza Yousaf must listen to the staff and patients and act to save lives.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane described the figures as “appalling”.
“Summer is round the corner and Covid infection rates are plummeting, yet waiting times in Scotland’s emergency wards not only remain dangerously and unacceptably long, they are getting even worse,” he said.
“The upshot of this is that lives are being needlessly and tragically lost.
“It’s dreadful that more than 30% of patients are having to wait at least four hours to be seen.
“But these appalling figures are the product of a health secretary reliant on a flimsy, inadequate Covid Recovery Plan and an SNP Government guilty of terrible workforce planning.”
The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.