‘Perpetual chaos’ in Scotland’s NHS as Sturgeon’s SNP oversees A&E waiting NIGHTMARE

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In the week ending July 31, just under two thirds of patients using A&E services in Scotland received attention within the government targeted four-hour window. For only the fifth time on record, over 1,000 people had to wait over 12 hours for care, according to the data from Public Health Scotland. As waiting times have become a growing issue across NHSScotland services, pressure has increased on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to focus on getting to grips with the crisis.

In the week ending July 31, there were 24,699 attendances at A&E services in NHSScotland.

Since 2007 the national standard for A&E arrivals is that 95 percent of patients wait less than four hours until admission, discharge or transfer – with the ultimate goal of returning to the 98 percent standard.

That threshold hasn’t been met for over two years now, last occurring during the week ending July 12 2020, resulting in ever louder calls for the Scottish government to take action.

Waiting times fell during the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021, but as attendance numbers picked up again performance against national standard significantly worsened.

During the week ending July 31 only 66.3 percent of arrivals at NHS Scotland A&E services were dealt with within four hours, the second-lowest rate since records began.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Today’s statistics lay bare an NHS forced into perpetual crisis by SNP incompetence. 

“A&E is in disarray, with thousands waiting over eight hours for treatment – but Humza Yousaf is missing in action. 

“Scotland’s A&E services are dangerously overheated because of lack of capacity elsewhere in the NHS system – with lives being put in danger every day. 

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During the same week 2,542 patients spent more than 8 hours in an A&E department awaiting medical attention, while 1,041 patients waited more than 12 hours. 

Whilst high, these figures represent a slight fall from the all-time peak during the week ending July 3, which saw 3,133 people wait more than 8 hours and 1,192 wait longer than 12 hours.

The average number of patients having to wait more than four hours so far in 2022 is 7,598, more than double the 2019 average of 3,483.

There are 91 locations providing A&E services across Scotland, of which 30 are classed as larger Emergency Departments that provide round the clock consultant-led service. 

These Emergency Departments are responsible for more than 8 out of every 10 A&E attendances and 19 out of 20 breaches of the national standard.

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Ms Baillie added: “NHS staff are working heroically but they are being failed day in and day out by this government. 

“Lives are being risked on a daily basis through SNP incompetence – but the minister is nowhere to be seen. 

“Humza Yousaf needs to listen to staff and get back to the day job before lives are lost.”

Over the past few months, SNP Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf has been urged by fellow MSPs to take action in reducing waiting times across NHSScotland.

The number of patients waiting over two years from referral to being seen as an inpatient or day case more than doubled during the first three months of 2022 to reach 10,613, according to the latest data from Public Health Scotland.

Upon a visit to Perth Royal Infirmary in early July, Mr Yousaf announced “ambitious new targets” to overcome the backlog caused by the pandemic, pledging to eliminate all waits over two years by the end of September.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “While there is no doubt the pandemic has had an impact, patients were facing long waits for treatment long before anyone had heard of Covid-19.

“It is the result of years of botched workforce planning.”

Confronted on the issue in the Scottish Parliament in June, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon blamed the pandemic while acknowledging waiting times were unacceptably high.

On June 28, the SNP leader announced her plans to hold another independence referendum by the end of next year, leading to many accusing her of overlooking the crisis within NHSScotland.

In a poll of Express.co.uk readers that ran last week, 97 percent of the 3,633 respondents thought Ms Sturgeon should resign over Scotland’s A&E wait times.

The First Minister found herself in hot water again today by reportedly failing to come to the aid of the residents of the Western Isles, whose shops have been forced to ration essential food items due to ferry disruption.

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