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‘Difficult to celebrate slight improvements’ as patients face extended A&E waits, says RCEM

Tuesday 2 April 

It is difficult to celebrate slight improvements as patients and staff bear the brunt of long waits.

This is the response from The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) as the latest performance data from Public Health Scotland shows one in eight people attending A&Es in Scotland in February waited eight hours or longer to be seen.

There has been a small improvement since January – the worst month on record for A&E waiting times. However, last month was the worst February on record for four-, eight-, and twelve-hour performance in Scotland.

The data also shows:

  • One in three patients waited four hours or more in Emergency Departments, one in eight waited eight hours or more, and one in 18 waited 12 hours or more.
  • Since February 2017, the numbers waiting four hours or more has increased by more five times (370%), the numbers waiting more than eight hours by 15 times (1446%), and the numbers waiting more than twelve hours by seven times (571%). This is despite attendance only increasing by 8% from February 2017.
  • There were 1,874 beds occupied due to delayed discharges, an increase of 8 from the previous month and the highest February on record. There was a total of 54,355 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed.

Dr Jason Long, Vice President of RCEM, said: “Any slight improvement from January is welcome, however it is difficult to celebrate when patients and staff continue to bear the brunt of long waits.

“Problems exist throughout the entire system, from ambulance pick up, to delayed discharge and a lack of social care provisions. This, of course, takes a toll on hardworking staff pushing themselves to their limits and the people facing these extended waits.

“Now is the time for change. We encourage the Scottish government to adopt our Manifesto points to #ResuscitateEmergencyCare.”

Graphs illustrating the data can be found here.

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