RCEM Scotland Vice President: ‘I never want to see crowding and exit block return to our EDs ever again’

7 July 2020

New monthly data from the Scottish Government shows an increase in attendances to Emergency Departments across Scotland.

Monthly data published today by the Scottish Government for May 2020 shows there were 77,410 attendances at Emergency Departments in NHS Scotland. This represents an increase of 35.5% of patients since the previous month. 

In May 2020 95.4% of patients attending Emergency Departments were seen and resulted in admission, transfer, or discharge within four hours. This represents a slight improvement of 1.0 percentage point since the previous month. 

The number of patients subject to long waits in Emergency Departments has continued to stay low. In May 2020, 164 patients spent eight hours or more in an Emergency Department and only 16 patients waited 12 hours or more.

Dr David Chung, Vice President of RCEM Scotland said: “This data shows that although we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels – demand for urgent and emergency care is beginning to rise. I have always said that Emergency Departments should be the safety net for the patient, and not the system. As we begin our phased return back to normality, it is imperative that we act now to ensure our Emergency Departments are available for those who need it the most.” 
 
“We recognise the efforts and sacrifices made by the public in Scotland. High levels of compliance with lockdown together with an appreciation of using the NHS sensibly during the pandemic has gone a long way. In the past few months, I have seen so many positive changes to the urgent and emergency care service and I do not want things to go back to the way they were. It is important that we now lock in some of these positive changes. 

“In a world where we must learn to live alongside coronavirus, I never want to see crowding and exit block return to our Emergency Departments ever again. It was only in January we saw that record numbers of patients were waiting 12 hours or more in Emergency Departments. We cannot risk exposing vulnerable people waiting in corridors to COVID-19.

“We are working closely with the Scottish Government to improve the quality of Emergency Care offered to our patients. We are determined to ensure that safety and addressing health inequalities are at the heart of any new changes.”