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RCEM Scotland: October 2019 performance figures “are of grave concern”

3 December 2019

Figures released today by the Scottish Government for October 2019 reveal the continued strain on Emergency Departments across Scotland.

Data for October 2019 shows 85.9% of attendances at Emergency Departments were admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours across Scotland. Overall performance has deteriorated by 5.1 percentage points since October 2018. In October 2019 there were 120,664 attendances at Emergency Departments in Scotland. In October 2019, 559 patients spent more than 12 hours in Emergency Departments, representing an increase of 296% since October 2018.

Dr David Chung, Vice President of RCEM Scotland said: “Although poor performance has been a consistent feature of 2019, the colder months are a particularly challenging time for Emergency Departments and indeed all aspects of our health and social care system. Staff members in Emergency Departments across Scotland are increasingly concerned that this could be the worst winter for long trolley waits and corridor care.

“These figures from October are of grave concern. The increase in long waits make this October look more like a January in comparison to previous years. These figures also do not reveal how overcrowded Emergency Departments are, with some being expected to look after the equivalent of a ward of patients and still look after the acutely unwell and injured who continue to come.

“Whilst there is increased demand in people attending Emergency Departments, these long waits are almost all patients waiting for a bed to be admitted to in the Hospital. In some cases, this is taking over 24 hrs. This is not an acceptable way to provide care in the 21st century and is undoubtedly taking its toll on patients and staff.”

“The fact that many Health Boards are running out of beds every day, obviously means that there are not enough beds in the system, there is not enough care capacity in the community, or both.”

“The Royal College of Emergency Medicine would call on Health Boards, and SGHD to ensure that they have working Escalation Plans in place, and identify , open and finance extra capacity as a matter of urgency to reverse this situation and ensure that we are in a position to mitigate the effects of winter and the festive break. This means restoring beds which have been closed and making sure Local Authorities and Primary Care are enabled to provide the services we need.”

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