By Lucy Ashton
Statistics published this week have shown that Accident and Emergency waiting times for hospitals the week ending 12th September were the worst on record.
Only 71.5 per cent of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.
The flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital saw only 44.8 per cent of patients within 4 hours, and the Vale of Leven Hospital has ceased to operate an A&E department.
The statistics come as the Vice-President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine warned that Scotland needs another 1000 acute hospital beds to deal with the pressure.
Only 71.5% of patients were seen on time, down from 74.6% the previous week. The previous record low was 74.2%.
- The target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. It has not been met nationally since July 2020.
- In NHS Forth Valley, only 53.4% of people were seen on time in the week to September 12, with only the three island NHS boards hitting the target.
- Queen Elizabeth University Hospital saw only 44.8% patients seen within 4 hours.
- Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh saw only 52.2% patients seen within 4 hours.
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “The crisis in our NHS is spiralling further and further out of control.
“Lives are now being placed in danger on a daily basis due to the failure of this SNP government to support the NHS.
“The SNP government must heed the warnings of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and act now to secure more acute beds for the NHS.
“If it would help for the Army to set up field hospitals then that must be considered immediately.
“Lives are on the line – there is no time to lose.”
Responding to the new record waits in A&E departments across the country, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has said that the Health Secretary must now come to parliament “to answer for his job”, and offer “seismic” changes.
During the week ending 12 September 2021, only 71.5% of those who attended A&E services were seen and processed within the target of four hours. This is significantly worse than the previous record low of 74.2%.
This amounts to a record 7,798 people waiting over four hours, alongside a record 1,895 waiting more than eight hours and a record 551 waiting more than 12 hours.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: “These numbers are horrific. Behind each and every one is a person in pain, and a team of staff struggling to help them. Even in the midst of this crisis, these figures are astonishing.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and LibDem leader Alex Cole Hamilton.
“Health care professionals cannot simply be conjured out of thin air when the going gets tough. It takes years to put them in place, because they are highly qualified and well trained. This crisis is years in the making.
“The Health Secretary [Humza Yousaf] had been warned that emergency care was crumbling, and yet after a month of record breaking waiting times things still aren’t improving.
“The pressure in the ambulance service and in A&E departments is deeply intertwined, and so as the Health Secretary comes to parliament today he must answer for his job and offer an apology to patients, families and staff.
“Something seismic needs to be offered to turn this around.”