A Ninewells Hospital consultant has hit out at claims of a crisis in A&E departments across the country.
A&E consultant Dr Barry Klaassen said the Ninewells department constantly met its waiting time targets and that its methods were “not rocket science”.
Dr Klaassen said: “The media has been full of an A&E crisis hitting the UK and they’re saying that A&E departments can’t cope and that they’re in meltdown.
“Not every A&E department in the UK is in a crisis. We have joined-up systems with our colleagues in acute care that actually work well for us.
“I had patients earlier in the week commenting that they thought A&E would be more difficult to come into. I said that wasn’t the case because we’ve got our act together.
“I’m slightly surprised that medical correspondents haven’t looked at the national figures for the four-hour waits, for example.
“Dundee has been the only major department that has met, on 100% of times, seeing 98% of patients within the four-hour times target.
“We sit sandwiched between Orkney and Stornoway so you can imagine the volume of A&E patients that walk into those departments is miniscule compared to how many walk into the fourth largest city in Scotland.
“It should stick out like a sore thumb for people to ask, why is that?”
Dr Klaassen said staff were not afraid to tell people arriving with non-emergency complaints that they should not be there.
He said: “There is a group of people in the community who think that they can go to A&E for anything and everything and that’s not the case. We are here for accidents and emergencies.
“We have senior decision makers on the shop floor for greater 24-hour periods than almost any other department I know of.
“We will go and interview people who present to our department with a condition that we are not sure if it is an emergency and they will be redirected appropriately.”
Dr Klaasen added: “Tayside also has really good GPs. They see a patient and say they need to go into hospital and they send them directly to the admitting ward. They don’t come into A&E unless they need resuscitation.
“Some of the hospitals with the worst waiting times in Scotland have GPs who will send every patient to the A&E department, clogging it up. That puts it under pressure straight away.
“We also identify people who come to us as emergencies … that are probably going to need admission. The nurses will highlight that to the ward and say, ‘this is one for you’ so, by the time we have the initial assessment of the patient, they have already identified a bed.
“It’s not rocket science.”