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by Amal Abdi
12 April 2022
A&E in 'permanent crisis' as fewer patients seen within four-hour target

A&E in 'permanent crisis' as fewer patients seen within four-hour target

The Scottish Government has been criticised for poor A&E performance after a key target on admissions was missed.

Since last summer, the performance against the four-hour standard has fallen below 80 per cent and has continued at this rate for a “prolonged period of time,” according to Public Health Scotland (PHS). 

PHS data for the week ending 3 April shows just 68 per cent of attendees were seen within the four-hour target - the third lowest figure on record. 

Of the over 24,000 A&E attendants admitted, 2,483 patients waited more than eight hours to be seen, and 955 waited for more than 12.

Scottish Labour have warned that A&E services are becoming stuck in a state of “permanent crisis” under the SNP.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Week after week emergency rooms across Scotland are in chaos despite the tireless work of NHS staff, who are being forced to go above and beyond to make up for SNP failure. 

“We desperately need real leadership from the government, but the health secretary spends more time commenting on the crisis than fixing it.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “We've seen nearly a month of near-record lows in A&E.

“Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon have sat by and allowed this crisis to reach its most dangerous time yet. This SNP/Green government would much rather waste taxpayers' money pursuing another independence referendum than take decisive action to solve this crisis.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The latest weekly figures show more than two-thirds of patients are being seen within the four-hour target in our A&E departments, despite the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on services and with record levels of patients in hospital with Covid.   

“While we expect these pressures will continue to impact performance over the next couple of weeks, we are now seeing indications that Covid levels are starting to fall which will hopefully ease pressure on hospital services. 

 “Scotland continues to have the best performing A&Es in the UK, outperforming those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for over six years.”

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine recently estimated that there have been 240 deaths in Scotland since the start of the year as a result of delays at A&E departments.

Dr John Thomson, vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in Scotland, said that there was “clear evidence that long waits in emergency departments are directly associated with patient death”.

There have been large decreases in the attendances at A&E since the spring of 2020 due to processes put in place to respond to Covid-19. 

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