Record number of Scots spending 12 hours or more in A&E, figures show

The number of patients spending more than half a day in accident and emergency has reached its highest level ever.

Record number of Scots spending 12 hours or more in A&E, figures show Peter Byrne via PA Ready
Latest A&E figures.

The number of patients spending more than half a day in accident and emergency has reached its highest level ever, with more than 600 people waiting 12 hours or more in the first full week of October.

While the Scottish Government’s target states 95% of patients should be seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, in the week ending Sunday October 10 just 71.3% were dealt with in that time.

That exactly matches the record low achieved the previous week.

Meanwhile, the most recent weekly figures from Public Health Scotland show of the 25,335 people who attended at A&E 1,871 of them spent eight hours or more there.

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That includes 612 people who spent 12 hours or longer waiting for treatment – the highest number since weekly records began.

The three island health boards: NHS Shetland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles, all managed to treat more than 95% of A&aE patients within the four hour target time.

But no mainland health boards managed to achieve this and in NHS Forth Valley just four out of 10 (41%) of patients were dealt with in this time.

It comes as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to put the NHS under pressure, with a number of health boards having called for the army to help them deal with staff shortages.

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Health secretary, Humza Yousaf, recently announced an additional £300m for the NHS but warned, despite this, the service still faces an “incredibly difficult winter”.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Covid pandemic has inevitably affected A&E attendance and the pressure is being felt across the UK.”

She said that A&E departments in Scotland had performed better than those in the rest of the UK for more than six years, adding: “Our NHS staff have faced unprecedented pressures over recent weeks as they work tirelessly and consistently to respond to the pandemic whilst continuing to provide vital treatment and optimal patient care.

“As part of the NHS Recovery Plan we have committed £27m towards the Redesign of Urgent Care to ensure people receive the right care, at the right place.

“To minimise pressures as much as possible this winter, we’ve recently announced £300 million of measures to help increase NHS and social care capacity in our hospitals and reduce delayed discharges.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with those sites facing the greatest challenges to ensure rapid recovery plans are in place and are in contact daily.”