Scottish A&E waits at highest level in final week of 2017

From BBC - January 9, 2018

The number of people waiting more than four hours in Scotland's accident and emergency units reached record high levels in the last week of the year.

The latest weekly figures show that just 78% of patients across Scotland were seen within the target time.

This was well below the Scottish government's 95% target, and the lowest since the weekly figures began in February 2015.

In the same week in 2016 there were 92.5% treated within four hours.

Health Secretary Shona Robison told BBC Scotland the latest figures were for the week ending on Hogmanay, which had been a "very challenging" time for the health service.

She said the number of flu cases had been double the same period last year and this had caused "exceptional pressures" for A&E.

Ms Robison also said the freezing weather around Christmas had caused problems which had continued to have an impact.

"There were real pressures but despite that nearly eight out of 10 patients are still being seen, treated and discharged within four hours," Ms Robison said.

"That is a huge achievement for staff, given these winter pressures."

The Scottish Conservatives said the latest figures were "nothing short of a disgrace".


In the week before Christmas the figure for those being dealt with inside the four-hour target was 83.3%, up from the previous record low of 81.1% in the week before.

The latest figures, for the week ending 31 December, show there were 25,865 attendances at emergency departments across Scotland.

Of these, 5,686 were not dealt with within the four-hour target.

The statistics show that 1,156 (4.5%) patients spent more than eight hours in an emergency department.

There were 272 (1.1%) patients who spent more than 12 hours in A&E.

The worst performing health board area was NHS Forth Valley which saw just 57.3% within the target time.

Greater Glasgow (71.1%), Lothian (76.2%) and Lanarkshire (76.8%) also missed the target time in about a quarter of cases.

NHS Grampian (87.9%), NHS Highland (87.6%) and NHS Tayside (87.3%) were the best performing mainland health boards.

Analysis by data journalist Marc Ellison

With statistics, the devil is always in the details.

The latest tranche of weekly waiting time data is no doubt shocking, with just 78% of patients across Scotland being seen within four hours - down five percentage points on the previous week.

But, dig a little deeper, and you will find the situation in some areas is even worse.

For example, Forth Valley's casualty waiting rooms saw just 57.3% of patients within the target, down 22 percentage points.

That figure eclipses the 8-point drop on the previous week for NHS Highland and NHS Tayside, who both remained among the best performers despite the big fall.

The situation elsewhere in the UK


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