Scottish A&E waiting times suffer ‘wholly unacceptable’ decline

WAITING time performances in Scotland’s A&E departments have deteriorated for a second week running after showing a brief improvement last month.

The latest official figures showed more than a quarter of people attending casualty had to wait longer than the four-hour target for treatment.

The Scottish Tories said the situation was “wholly unacceptable”.

Public Health Scotland reported 74.4 per cent of patients were seen on time in the week to February 6, down from 75.6% the previous week and 77.7% the week before that.

The number of patients waiting over four hours was 5,999, up from 5,647 the previous week.

They number of patients waiting eight hours also increased, from 1,269 to 1,346, while those waiting 12 hours or more increased from 471 to 498.

The deterioration coincided with a slight rise in attendances, up from 23,159 to 23,429.

The reversals followed two consecutive weeks of improvements, albeit from a record low, when the waning impact of the Omicron variant on staff shortages was seen as a factor.

They add to the pressure on SNP health secretary Humza Yousaf, who has promised extra funding for the NHs to help address the issue.

The target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

It has not been met nationally since July 2020.

It has been below 80% since mid July this year.

The worst performing health board last week was NHS Lothian, with just 64.7% of A&E patients seen on time, with NHS Forth Valley on 65.4% and NHS Grampian on 70.9%.

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Week after week Humza Yousaf’s continued inaction is failing our NHS. These A&E waiting times are once again wholly unacceptable.

“Lives are being put at risk due to the SNP Health Secretary not getting a grip of this situation long before now.

“Our frontline NHS staff are working flat out but they are being badly let down by the SNP Government who haven’t stepped up to support them.

“Humza Yousaf needs to start showing the leadership required if A&E waiting times are ever again going to be brought under control.

“His flimsy NHS Recovery plan has failed miserably to remobilise frontline services and patients turning up at A&E are continuing to pay the price.”

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