Intolerable A&E waiting times continue

Waiting times in A&E are continuing to slump in Scotland, as figures released by Public Health Scotland today show that in the week ending 31 October, 71.4% of people were seen within the four-hour target.

In NHS Lothian, just 68.4% of people were seen within the target time.

The figures released today show an additional 1,592 patients waiting more than 8 hours to be seen and 483 waiting more than 12.  The Royal College of Emergency Medicine released analysis last week that “for every 67 patients waiting 8-12 hours, one of them will come to avoidable harm”, and calculated that long waits had directly led to 231 excess deaths.

New reports also reveal nurses feeling forced to leave the profession because of the conditions that result from the recruitment crisis.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“These waiting times are intolerable for patients and staff, and leave the public vulnerable.

“The NHS shouldn’t be expected to just suck up the pressure and muddle through the winter with fingers crossed. They are dealing with life-or-death situations. As doctors have shown, waiting too long for treatment causes people even more harm – and they can sometimes be fatal.

“The recruitment crisis is in a vicious circle. Because of cuts made by the SNP, there aren’t enough staff on the ground. The lack of staff makes the pressure so much worse, and even more people leave as a result. Staff are in a downwards spiral.

“While the Health Secretary tries to plaster over the cracks, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the cuts run too deep. That’s why we need an independent review into the unnecessary deaths caused by this waiting times crisis, for lessons to be learned and for accountability to be sure.”

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