FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon says A&E waiting times ‘not good enough’ as Tories reveal one patient waited 84 hours
Nicola Sturgeon called the most recent figures for four-hour waiting times in A&E “not good enough” but tempered that by saying it reflects the current pressure across health and social care, which she attributed to the pandemic and a changing population.
At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar grilled Sturgeon on the most recent health figures released by Public Health Scotland that showed only 63.5 per cent of patients were seen within four hours at A&E in the week to 11 September, far below the government’s own target of 95 per cent.
The Scottish Conservative leader pointed out that they were the “worst waiting times on record” and revealed an FOI request which showed a patient in Ayrshire had to wait 84 hours to be seen.
While Sturgeon accepted that this case was “unacceptable”, she called it an “exceptional situation”, adding that poor A&E waiting times “are not unique to Scotland”. She also highlighted the figures are better than the rest of the UK.
Ross responded: “Context might be important for the First Minister and her members behind her, but for the people waiting hours and days for A&E treatment they are hollow words.”
Anas Sarwar pointed out that since the Scottish Government published the NHS catch-up plan in August 2021 the number of Scots on an NHS waiting list has risen from 603,000 to 750,000. He said: “Catch-up surely means waiting times going down, not up.”
Sturgeon was keen to point out that since the government took office, they had added 20,000 more NHS staff.
But Sarwar remained firm telling the First Minister: “People are sick of these excuses.” He also pointed out that life expectancy in Scotland has dropped for the second year in a row.
Sarwar asked: “How long will we have to wait for you and your health secretary to do your jobs?”