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Emergency Departments continue to face severe pressures as RCEM calls for meaningful action

1 March 2022

The latest A&E activity and waiting times for major Emergency Departments in Scotland for January 2022 show:

  • 73.7% of attendances were seen and resulted in subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours
  • There were 96,338 attendances, a 1.4% decrease when compared to the previous month, December 2021
  • More than one in four patients were delayed by four hours or more
  • 6,682 patients were delayed by eight hours or more, a 23% increase when compared to the previous month, December 2021
    • This is equal to 6.2% of all attendances
  • 2,155 patients were delayed by 12 hours or more, a 30% increase when compared to the previous month, December 2021
    • This is equal to 2.1% of all attendances

Dr John Thomson, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said:

“The health service in Scotland continues to face severe system pressures. Emergency Departments remain dangerously crowded with many patients facing extremely long waiting times as ambulances still face delays in offloading patients. These long waits are leading directly to harm for our patients.

“Despite the challenges of widespread bed shortages and staff shortages, Emergency Medicine staff continue to do all they can to keep patients safe. It is the hard work and dedication of EM staff who are preventing urgent and emergency care from tipping over the edge and falling deeper into crisis.

“Frontline workers continue to be pushed to their limit and are experiencing significant moral injury as a result of inadequate bed capacity and patient flow. It is clear that without significant, immediate change, both patients presenting to our Emergency Departments, and the staff working in them, face ongoing harm.

“Emergency Medicine staff will continue to be pushed to their limit unless an adequate urgent and emergency recovery plan is set out by the Scottish Government – this would prevent any threat of derailing elective care recovery. In the longer term, the Royal College continues to call for a fully funded long-term workforce plan and for 1,000 additional beds to be opened in the system. The current status quo is not sustainable for patients or staff, it is time to see meaningful action.”

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