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Scottish government ‘duty-bound’ to end corridor care and A&E overcrowding

Tuesday 2 July 2024

The Scottish government are ‘duty-bound’ to end corridor care and A&E overcrowding.

This is the response from The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) Scotland as the latest Emergency Department performance data reveals that one in every nine people waited eight hours or more to be seen in A&E last month.

Data released today – Tuesday 2 July 2024, by Public Health Scotland shows in Scottish A&Es in May – one in three patients waited four hours or more, one in nine waited eight hours or more, and one in 21 waited 12 hours or more.

The data also shows long waits have increased significantly since the 2010s.

Since May 2017, for example, the numbers waiting four hours or more has increased by nearly five times, eight hours or more by 21 times, and 12 hours or more by 89 times. Despite attendance only increasing by 0.5% in the same period.

The figures come just weeks after RCEM revealed the shocking reality of A&E overcrowding in the country with figures showing half of Emergency Departments were having to treat people in corridors.

A situation for which the First Minister John Swinney had to offer an ‘unreserved apology’ during First Minister’s Questions on 20 June.

Dr John-Paul Loughrey, RCEM Vice President for Scotland said: “It is right that the First Minister has apologised to people who have been forced to withstand treatment in corridors.

“It is unbearable for the people experiencing this loss of dignity at an already difficult time, and for the medical practitioners caring for them in impossible conditions.

“The data clearly shows that extended A&E waiting times due to overcrowding is not a new issue. It is sadly what A&E staff have come to expect.

“We once again call on the Scottish Government to take action to prevent overcrowding in Emergency Departments and the subsequent need to treat people in corridors by increasing the number of hospital beds and improving social care options so people can leave hospital when they are ready.

“I, personally, am growing weary of the inaction to rectify these longstanding issues and the resulting harms.”

“The government is duty-bound to provide the people of Scotland with safe and dignified emergency care, and now is the time to do so.”

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