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Slight improvement in A&E waiting times but target still missed, figures show

There has been a slight improvement in hospital A&E waiting times, the latest figures show (Andrew Matthews/PA)
There has been a slight improvement in hospital A&E waiting times, the latest figures show (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Just 71.6% of patients attending Scotland’s A&E departments were seen within the Scottish Government’s four-hour target, new statistics show.

Figures from Public Health Scotland, covering the week up to May 1, show a slight increase from 70.2% for the same measurement the previous week.

The Scottish Government aims to ensure at least 95% of patients attending emergency departments are seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

However, this target has not been hit since July 2020.

Of the 25,692 A&E attendances recorded across Scotland, 677 patients waited more than 12 hours to be seen.

Some 1,741 patients spent more than eight hours in an A&E department, while 7,286 waited for more than four hours.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, said: “The relentlessly grim stats on the state of Scotland’s A&E wards just keep coming, while the Health Secretary watches on like a helpless bystander rather than the man whose job it is to find solutions.

“But he can’t continue to fall back on his flimsy and inadequate Covid Recovery Plan when almost 100 people per day are having to wait more than 12 hours to be seen, because we know these excess delays inevitably lead to avoidable deaths.

“It is not just rival politicians pointing out how intolerable things are. In the last week, we’ve had a senior doctor describe the situation on our A&E wards as horrific and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine refer to a broken health system in dire crisis.

“Humza Yousaf must belatedly come up with a coherent plan for tackling the crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “These figures show that performance in our A&E departments continues to improve. This follows recent changes allowing boards to safely de-escalate Covid-related infection and prevention control measures with the aim of easing patient flows.

“We are also continuing to enhance capacity for Hospital at Home, and a range of other services which allow people to be treated at home rather than in hospital. Although the situation may continue to fluctuate, we expect pressures on A&E to ease as Covid cases in hospital continue to decline.

“Scotland has the best performing A&Es in the UK. In fact, Scotland’s A&Es have outperformed those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for over six years.

“Hospitals continue to face capacity issues as a result of high demand, staff absence and reduced beds due to infection control requirements, while high numbers of patients presenting who are acutely unwell is leading to a longer length of time spent in hospital and impacting on flow.”

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