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RCEM Scotland Vice President: “We are in desperate need of more beds”

3 November 2020

New weekly data from the Scottish Government shows a significant increase in the number of patients attending NHS Scotland Emergency Departments.

Monthly data published today by the Scottish Government for September 2020 shows there were 98,888 attendances at major Emergency Departments across NHS Scotland, representing the second highest number of attendances since the start of the pandemic. Although there was a small decrease in attendances when compared to August, this represents an increase of 16.85% when compared to March 2020.

The four-hour standard continues to decline. In September 2020 91.10% of patients attending Emergency Departments were seen and resulted in admission, transfer or discharge within four hours. More concerningly, the number of long waits has increased significantly. 756 patients spent more than eight hours waiting in an Emergency Department, representing an increase of 40.78% when compared to the previous month. In addition, 180 patients spent more than twelve hours in an Emergency Department, an increase of 260% when compared to August 2020.

Dr John Thomson, Vice President of RCEM Scotland said: “The figures released today show that our departments are once again beginning to witness unacceptable long waits.

“With the pressure of a difficult winter ahead, and Emergency Department staff still very much caring for patients alongside the threat of resurging Covid cases, we simply cannot return to crowded departments. Crowding can occur when there is a lack of beds meaning patients often must wait until one becomes available.

“As outlined in our recent RCEM CARES document, we are in desperate need of more beds if we are to care for our patients safely and mitigate crowding, which should be a priority now more than ever. We estimate that Scotland needs over 600 more available staffed bed to maintain safe bed occupancy levels.”

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