The number of people seen within four hours in Moray, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire A&E departments has fallen to a new low, new figures have revealed.
NHS figures released on Tuesday show that less than 80% of people were seen and subsequently admitted or discharged in Grampian A&E departments, despite a Scottish Government target of 95%.
In a release from Public Health Scotland (PHS), it was revealed that just 79.5% of people were seen in a four hour period in the week until 25 July when 1,789 attended A&E across Grampian.
July’s figures are the lowest ever for the region in figures released by PHS, which date back to 2015, although previous figures may have dropped further.
In the most recent figures available until August 8, those seen rose to just 82%, with 1,801 in attendance.
‘This is now a fully-fledged crisis’
It comes as Scottish Conservative Shadow Minister for Public Health Sandesh Gulhane MSP says hospital colleagues across the country are “struggling to cope with the enormous demands placed on them”.
The MSP described the statistics as a “fully-fledged crisis” and has called for Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to take action.
Across Scotland, a total of 981 patients spent more than eight hours in hospital, while 254 were waiting longer than 12 hours.
Despite the number of attendances at emergency departments returning closer to pre-pandemic levels, the number of weekly attendances dropped by almost 3,000 to 25,582.
Shadow Minister for Public Health Dr Gulhane continued: “Our NHS urgently needs a solid remobilisation plan to tackle the backlogs that were present before Covid struck, which are now spiralling out of control.
“This is now a fully-fledged crisis. A&E statistics have plummeted to their worst level in six years – but the SNP Government seem to think nothing is wrong.
“Humza Yousaf has to start listening to NHS staff. A summer of inaction and delay is harming frontline services.
“He must now recognise the need for a taskforce led by frontline clinicians with the sole remit of reducing waiting times. Our plans would ease the pressure on A&E services and help Scotland’s NHS recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
Health Secretary response
In response to the PHS figures, health secretary Mr Yousaf claimed reports from hospitals suggest people reporting to emergency departments are “much sicker and require higher levels of care”.
“Scotland’s core A&E departments have outperformed those in the rest of the UK for more than six years,” he said.
“Our NHS staff have faced unprecedented pressures over recent weeks. They work tirelessly and consistently to respond to the pandemic whilst continuing to provide vital treatment and optimal patient care.
“We are in daily contact with every board and are monitoring the situation closely.
“Hospitals are reporting increased levels of people attending A&E who are much sicker and require higher levels of care.
“Weekly performance is impacted due to a range of challenges including high attendances, staffing pressures due to isolation and annual leave and the continued requirement for infection control precautions that is affecting the time people need to spend in A&E.
“To minimise pressures, in June we committed £12 million in additional funding to health boards across Scotland to support non-Covid emergency care.
“The boards are in the process of recruiting additional staff with this funding and we expect to see an impact of our rapid action in the coming weeks.
“Boosting staffing levels will help put measures in place to reduce waiting times for urgent or emergency treatment and increase available beds.”