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Performance reaches record lows once again, as fears grow for coming weeks

21 December 2021

The latest weekly update of Emergency Department activity and waiting time statistics show:

  • Four-hour performance was second lowest on record at 69.7%
  • There were 24,009 attendances
  • 7,285 patients were delayed by four hours or more, equal to one-third of patients
  • 1,803 patients were delayed by eight hours or more
  • 598 patients were delayed by 12 hours or more

Responding to these figures, Dr John Thomson, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said:

“The latest data is shocking, as performance sinks to record lows once again. Staff are working tirelessly in Emergency Departments, and we anticipate pressures to mount further as covid surges across Scotland, and with this performance to drop even more.

“We are deeply concerned. Our fear is that staff absences due to covid may prevent the health service from delivering effective care. The current pressures are already leading to long waits for patients, ambulance handover delays, dangerous crowding and corridor care. If we lose staff to covid, these consequences will be further exacerbated. We know that long waits in Emergency Departments threaten patient safety and can lead to avoidable harm or death.

“The crisis is extremely worrying. The coming weeks will be a significant challenge, morale is already plummeting as concern for whether the health service in Scotland will be able to cope is escalating.

“We hope the public understand the unprecedented pressures facing the health service and the crisis that is deepening each week. Staff are doing all they can to deliver effective care and to keep patients safe. We urge the public to be cautious in the coming weeks, to use face masks, avoid crowded places, get tested and isolate when they have symptoms, and crucially, to get vaccinated or boosted – these steps go a small way to alleviating pressures on Emergency Departments and the wider health service.”

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