The accident and emergency department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
By Lucy Ashton
The number of people being seen in A&E within the target time has dropped below 70% for the first time since this publication began.
Public Health Scotland data shows that in the week ending 24 October 2021, just 69.6% of people were seen within the target of four hours. Scotland-wide, this amounted to almost two thousand people (1,948) waiting more than 8 hours to be seen.
Scotland’s largest health board Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which covers West Dunbartonshire, reported meeting the target just 66% of the time.
These figures come amidst warnings from health boards across the country, who warned last week that individuals should not attend unless their condition was critical or life threatening.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is not safe. Waiting times like these put people in danger. Sometimes, they will prove deadly.
“If people hold off asking for help, small problems will become much worse. The ripple effects of this emergency care crisis will roll on for years to come.
“Staff are doing everything they can. But they can’t fix the broken system that has been handed to them by the SNP. Failures in workforce planning, in effective resourcing and in maintaining staff morale mean Scotland’s NHS is tearing at the seams.
“This is the worst it’s been in over a decade. The Health Secretary must commit to a full independent inquiry into the unnecessary deaths arising of this emergency care crisis. There needs to be accountability from the top.”
Meanwhile, a new Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis has shown that more than 250,000 scheduled operations have now been lost to the pandemic and the party has warned that the backlog is still growing as the “flimsy” NHS Recovery Plan fails to make an impact.
In September the number of operations conducted was still around 10,000 below pre-covid levels of NHS activity.
LibDem leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured right, commented: “These new statistics show the scale of covid’s impact. In the region of 253,000 operations have now been lost to the pandemic. The loss of these procedures means people are in pain and can’t get on with life.
“The backlog is still growing because operations are still way below pre-covid levels.
“NHS staff have worked around the clock to protect people from the virus and navigate the fallout of botched workforce planning that has left so many departments dreadfully short of staff. They deserve better than the Scottish Government’s flimsy NHS Recovery Plan.
“We need a bigger range of treatment and rehab in local hospitals and a Patients’ Commissioner to stand up for patients because the waits are daunting.”