By Bill Heaney

Embattled Health Secretary Michael Matheson must ‘hang his head in shame’, Scottish Labour has said today, as the worst weekly A&E statistics since January have been recorded.

Statistics published today have shown that only 60.9 per cent of Emergency Department attendances were seen within 4 hours.

Shockingly, 3,735 patients waited over 8 hours with 1,660 waiting over half a day (12 hours).

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “These statistics have revealed an NHS in crisis with patients being left in danger as a result.

“Michael Matheson must hang his head in shame for his abysmal failure to support NHS staff and keep patients safe.

“With the worst A&E waits since January recorded before winter bites, Michael Matheson must act before the situation gets even more dire.

“It’s time for Mr Matheson to put the iPad down and get to work in tackling delayed discharge and the crisis in social care, which is putting pressure on NHS services, so that NHS staff can keep Scots safe this winter.”

Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie, Health Secretary Michael Matheson and LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.

A&E waiting times, week end 5 November 2023 

  • There were 24,838 unplanned attendances at Eds in NHS Scotland.
  • 15,129 (60.9%) of ED attendances were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours. This is the worst level since the week ending 8 January 2023, when performance against the four-hour standard was 57.6%.
  • 3,735 (15.0%) patients spent more than 8 hours in an Emergency Department.
  • 1,660 (6.7%) patients spent more than 12 hours in an Emergency Department.


Responding to figures which reveal that A&E waiting times have soared to their worst level since January, with just 60.9% of people being seen within 4 hours in emergency departments during the week ending 5th November, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:  “These disastrous numbers expose the appalling legacy of Humza Yousaf’s time as Health Secretary. It is his Recovery Plan that is leaving patients waiting in pain and forcing staff to pick up the pieces.

“Everyone on the frontline knows the situation is desperate and many shifts are dangerously understaffed, but SNP and Green ministers have sat on their hands.

“Michael Matheson must now press the reset button and put the voices of staff first. That means completely overhauling the failed NHS Recovery Plan, bringing forward an urgent inquiry into the hundreds of avoidable deaths linked to the emergency care crisis and implementing a plan that will meaningfully tackle burnout among staff.”


Primary Care in Scotland is at breaking point, Scottish Labour has warned today, as chaos in Scotland’s A&E departments and difficulties getting a GP appointment have caused the number of Scots seeking out of hours care to soar.

Compared to pre-pandemic figures, there have been over 93,000 more out of hours primary care consultations this year alone – this is a shocking increase of 16%.

It has also increased by a stark 4% in just one year compared to 2022.

For months now, Scottish Labour has raised the alarm on the crisis in A&E and the parlous situation in primary care as patients struggle to access a GP appointment.

At the same time, a GP feedback survey on primary care reform has laid bare this SNP Government’s failure to deliver on its promise of rolling out multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) across Scotland.

Fewer than two in five GPs who responded to the survey felt that they had sufficient access to the different MDT staff groups, which includes mental health workers, pharmacists, physiotherapists and urgent care staff.

This chaos comes with winter approaching quickly, and Scottish Labour has called for immediate action to be taken to ensure the situation does not get any worse.

Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “After 16 disastrous years of the SNP, Scotland’s primary care services have been pushed to breaking point.

Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Clydebank health centres.

“Patients are unable to get the GP appointments or the care that they need, putting increased pressure on already stretched out of hours services.

“The fact that so many people are being forced into out of hours care to actually get treatment is a damning indictment of the state of our health service.

“Hardworking staff are being pushed to their limits and the SNP has offered nothing but warm words in return.

“Michael Matheson should spend less time dodging accountability and more time investing in primary care to ensure patients are able to get the help they need, when they need it.”

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