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by Tom Freeman
03 March 2015
January A&E targets missed

January A&E targets missed

A&E departments in Scotland treated only 87 per cent of admissions within four hours in January, new figures show. The Scottish Government’s target is 95 per cent, which was last met across Scotland in 2010.

The figures confirm fears delayed discharge, or ‘bed-blocking’, has caused significant issues with admissions. Hospital beds were occupied by delayed discharge patients for the equivalent of 168,526 days from October to December 2014, a figure which has steadily risen.

For the first time weekly waiting times were also published, which show 86.1 per cent of people were treated in four hours between 16 and 22 February. This is below the figure for England, but higher than in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland said NHS staff were “working flat out” but more and more seriously ill people were attending A&E.

“These patients can’t be moved on from A&E because of the huge and growing pressure on beds in the rest of the hospital. A major cause of this pressure is that the number of delayed discharges is continuing to climb, with people stuck in hospital, despite being clinically ready to go home or into a care home,” she said.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Government would target £5m from its performance fund at areas experiencing acute challenges such as NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. “We are determined to improve performance through a whole system approach, improving patient flow through-out their journey from admission to discharge,” she said.

Scottish Labour said the figures showed the NHS was in crisis. “These A&E figures are the worst performance since 2008. We have heard horror stories of patients sleeping on trolleys; bringing their own pillows to wards and being treated in Portakabins,” said health spokeswoman Jenny Marra.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume said the SNP had “taken their eye off the ball” during the independence referendum campaign.

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