The steep decline in Scotland’s emergency department performance halts as wait times improve

The proportion of people seen within the official four-hour target rose from 65.6% to 67.9% last week, while the number of people waiting longer than four hours fell from 8,921 to 8,582.

Public Health Scotland also reported fewer patients waiting more than 8 hours, from 2,855 to 2,472 (11 to 9.2% of all A&E patients), and fewer patients waiting more than 12 hours, from 1,020 to 961 ( 3.9 to 2.6%).

But opposition parties said the figures for the week ending August 20 remain too high, as nearly a third of patients are still waiting too long.

The better news followed a doubling in the number of eight- and 12-hour waits over the past three weeks, resulting in the worst numbers since the week ended May 14.

The goal is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours. It has not been met nationwide since July 2020.

READ MORE: The number of patients enduring extreme wait times in the emergency room doubles in three weeks

The improved performance last week was up from 25,904 to 26,764 despite the total number of presenters at A&E.

The worst performing health authority last week was NHS Forth Valley, where 52.6% of patients were treated on time, followed by NHS Lanarkshire (59.8%) and NHS Lothian (61.7%).

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has calculated that there will be more deaths for every 72 patients who spend between eight and 12 hours in an emergency room.

Scottish Conservatives MSP Sandesh Gulhane said: “It is totally unacceptable that almost a third of patients are still waiting over four hours in Scottish emergency departments to be treated.”

“The persistently long waits in the ER are a damning expression of the SNP’s mismanagement of the Scottish NHS.

“Ministers failed to get a grip on this crisis at the height of summer, leaving another terrible winter ahead for patients and my dedicated colleagues on the front lines.

“Poor workforce planning by successive SNP Health Ministers and the failure of Humza Yousaf’s now two-year-old flimsy NHS recovery plan continue to have a deeply damaging impact on patients and staff.

“If Michael Matheson wants to drastically reduce waiting times in the emergency room then he should abandon this recovery plan and instead follow the Scottish Conservatives’ vision for a modern, efficient and local health service.”

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