By Lucy Ashton
A&E waiting times are at their worst weekly rate ever, as thousands of Scots are left to suffer for hours in emergency departments.
Despite repeated calls from Jackie Baillie to get a handle on the crisis in our A&E, the SNP are in a race to the bottom to outdo their own failures.
Figures for the week ending 30 October reveal that appallingly, only 63.1 percent of attendees at emergency departments were seen within the four-hour wait standard, the worst on record and the figure was even lower at the Royal Alexandra Hospital with just 57.1 percent being seen within the target time.
Furthermore, 3,393 patients waited more than eight hours, while 1,447 patients waited for 12 hours before being admitted, transferred or discharged.
Jackie Baillie says the figures for the RAH at Paisley are desperate.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP’s race to the bottom must be stopped before things get any worse for our A&E departments.
“For months Scottish Labour has been calling on the Scottish Government to get a handle on this crisis, and yet we are continually left with record-breaking failures and nothing but empty words and endless excuses from this hopeless Health Secretary.
People from Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven, Balloch, Helensburgh and Lomond are constantly on the end of some of the longest waits in the country despite the best efforts of staff.
“As the real winter crisis approaches, staff are on their knees with exhaustion and they cannot be left to face this crisis alone. Patients are going to have worse health outcomes or even die as a result of not being seen quickly.
“Scots will be wondering why, as the evidence builds, the First Minister seems to turn a blind eye to Humza Yousaf’s failures.
“It is time for the First Minister to sack her failing Health Secretary and put patient’s needs first.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary and Dr Sandesh Gulhane, pictured above, has today written to the UK Statistics Authority over inconsistent reporting of A&E waiting times at major Scottish hospitals.
A whistleblower told The Scotsman that patients presenting at the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) are deliberately not included in Public Health Scotland’s A&E Department waiting time statistics.
By contrast, waiting time statistics for the Western General Infirmary in Edinburgh do include patients presenting at their medical assessment unit.
The article estimates that 2,000 patients each month are being omitted from QEUH’s waiting time statistics – more than 25% of current total attendances, which have averaged around 7,500 per month in 2022.
The letter from Dr Gulhane, who is a Glasgow MSP, comes after the UK Statistics Authority wrote to the Scottish Government last week to advise that their reporting of A&E stats could “potentially mislead some patients about the length of time they may have to wait”, due to incomplete reporting.
The percentage of emergency patients being seen within the target time of four hours reached a new low this week, with only 63.1% admitted, transferred or discharged in the target time frame.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Our emergency departments are in crisis and it feels like A&E waiting times are getting worse every week, yet these deeply worrying reports show that we may only be hearing half the story.
“It seems clear that A&E reporting is woefully inconsistent across the country, and that the public is not being informed of the true extent of waiting times in Scotland’s hospitals.
“At best this may be considered unprofessional, at worst, some may regard it as a deliberate attempt to corrupt the data.
“If we are to fully hold the SNP to account over their dire mismanagement of our health service, we need to know the full picture of Scotland’s emergency care system.
“I have asked the UK Statistics Authority to investigate this issue and I urge the SNP Government to bring in consistent reporting requirements in order to improve the quality of health data.
“For too long the SNP have hidden behind stats and spin to avoid dealing with the disaster in our NHS. They must come clean with the Scottish public – and, more importantly, take action to deal with this ongoing crisis.”
During week ending 30 October 2022:
- There were 26,052 attendances at Emergency Departments in NHS Scotland. 1129 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
- 63.1 percent of ED attendances were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours. At the RAH this was 57.1 percent
- 3,393 patients spent more than eight hours in an Emergency Department. This included 187 at the RAH.
- 1,447 patients spent more than 12 hours in an Emergency Department including 66 at the RAH.