Record numbers waiting more than four hours at A&E

Written by Tom Freeman on 9 January 2018 in News

The festive period saw a record high in numbers of people experiencing long waits at A&E

A&E - Lydia

The last week of 2017 saw the numbers of people waiting more than four hours at accident and emergency hit a record high, it has emerged.

In the week between Christmas and Hogmanay, 78 per cent of people attending A&E departments were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours, well short of the target of 95 per cent.

It is the lowest figure since the start of the publication of weekly stats in 2015.

NHS Forth Valley was the worst performing health board, where only 57.3 per cent of patients were seen in four hours during the week.

And NHS Lothian’s stats were excluded from national figures while an inquiry is underway into whether figures had been under-reported at the health board last year.

The Scottish Government said a rise in flu and complex cases is partly to blame, with double the number of flu cases presenting with the virus.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “I’ve heard an overwhelming number of reports from clinicians about how flu and respiratory illness, combined with other winter pressures and exceptional and sustained levels of demand, is changing the way they are treating patients arriving at A&E.

“It is crucial that patients with complex care needs and flu receive the right care, not simply the fastest.

“It will take some time for services to recover from the pressures being felt this winter and for the spikes in flu levels to subside - however we are working to provide support to Boards wherever they might need it, alongside the £22.4 million investment the Scottish Government has already made available for winter contingencies to ensure demand is appropriately managed.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs described the figures as “nothing short of a disgrace” while his Labour counterpart Anas Sarwar said they were “the worst in memory”.

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