A&E struggling under perfect storm of ‘icy conditions, winter illness and funding failures’

© DC Thomson
Health Secretary Shona Robison

Scotland’s emergency departments have recorded the worst weekly performance since March 2015.

The latest figures for the week ending December 10 show that 86.9% of patients were seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, well below the Scottish Government’s 95% target.

A total of 450 patients spent more than eight hours in an emergency department while 107 waited for more than 12 hours.

The worst-performing health board was NHS Lothian (77.3%) followed by NHS Forth Valley (83.4%) and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (84.9%).

Tayside (95.3%) and Fife (94.9%) were among the best performers.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Cold weather and particularly black ice is affecting the performance of our A&E departments and, while we expect waiting times to fluctuate from week to week in winter, there is no doubt that slips and trips and flu-like illnesses have significantly increased the pressures on our hospitals recently.”

The government said £22.4 million is being invested this year across Scotland to address issues over the busy winter period.

Miles Briggs, health spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said the A&E problems are being driven by the “systematic failure of the Scottish Government to invest or support primary care”.

“The sad reality is that emergency departments cannot cope with this increase in patients, as well as seasonal pressures so patients are waiting longer, many of whom are in serious discomfort,” he added.