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Staff deeply worried about UEC crisis, as Scotland records worst A&E performance once again

1 November 2022

Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures for Scotland for September 2022 Dr John-Paul Loughrey, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said:

“The situation as we enter winter is dire. Month-on-month, more and more patients face longer and longer waits – that we know are associated with patient harm and even death. Emergency Medicine staff and our paramedic colleagues are doing all they can to ensure the urgent and emergency care system continues to function and patients continue to receive care. We want to thank health care workers for their hard-work and diligence at this incredibly challenging time.

“We know that patients are deeply worried about the crisis. Emergency Medicine staff are worried too, distressed that they are unable to move patients through the hospital or take in patients from ambulances to the Emergency Departments. The difficulty in discharging patients from hospital when they are medically fit to be discharged is causing exit block in hospitals. The lack of social care is preventing these patients from being discharged. This is leading to a lack of flow throughout the hospital and leading to long waits in Emergency Departments, long waits in ambulances outside Emergency Departments, and long waits for an ambulance in the community.

“The Scottish Government must get a grip of this crisis and urgently boost the social care workforce, only then will we be able to discharge patients, free up beds and reduce these long waits throughout the system.”

Notes to editor

The latest performance figures for September 2022 for Emergency Departments across Scotland show:

  • There were 113,522 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • 65.6% of patients were seen within four-hours
    • This is the lowest four-hour performance since records began and is 8.2 percentage points lower than September 2021.
  • 13,506 patients waited more than eight-hours before being seen, admitted, discharged, or transferred
    • This is the highest number of eight-hour waits since records began
    • It means that more than one in 10 patients were waiting eight-hours or more in a major Emergency Department.
    • Double the number of patients have waited eight hours or more in 2022 so far (January – September) than in all of 2021.
  • 5,296 patients waited more than 12-hours before being seen, admitted, discharged, or transferred
    • This is the highest number of 12-hour waits since records began
    • This is an increase of 172% compared to September 2021.
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