Royal College of Emergency Medicine Menu Menu

‘The Emergency Care system is not functioning as it should’, RCEM says as Emergency Department performance drops

2 May 2023

Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures for Scotland for March 2023 Dr John-Paul Loughrey, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said:

“The data show another drop in performance. This means more patients facing longer waits, more delays to care and more harm. We cannot continue to see this occur, we need to be seeing improvements in performance and a reduction in delays to care. This is a signal that the current interventions and actions are not having the time critical impact that we need to be seeing.

“The Scottish Government needs to understand that hesitancy to take the necessary actions will impact on the safety of patients and their care. Emergency care is not functioning as it should, no patient should face a 12-hour wait in an Emergency Department. We know what needs to be done: ensuring social care is responsive and able to support the timely discharge of patients; expanding acute bed capacity across Scotland; retaining existing staff while recruiting more staff into Emergency Medicine. These are the solutions laid out in our campaign Five Priorities for UK Governments for #ResuscitatingEmergencyCare.

“We would welcome an opportunity to meet the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson MSP, to put forward these solutions and the means to tackle the crisis in Emergency Care. We cannot consider this to be winter pressure anymore; this is year-round, and it continues to cause harm. We must do better for patients and staff, there is no time to delay.”

Notes to editor

The latest performance figures for March 2023 for Emergency Departments across Scotland show:

  • There were 110,446 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • 64.5% of patients were seen within four-hours at major (Type 1) Emergency Departments
    • This is a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from the previous month, and a decrease of 3.9 percentage points when compared with March 2022
    • 39,253 patients waited over four-hours in major Emergency Departments, this is an increase of 22.3% from the previous month
  • In February 2023, 13,750 (12.4%) patients waited eight-hours or more in an Emergency Department
    • This is an increase of 33.9% from the previous month, February 2023, and the highest figure so far this year
    • When compared with March 2022, this figure has increased by 24.8%
    • This is equal to more than one in eight patients waiting eight-hours or more in a major Emergency Department
  • 5,739 patients waited more than 12-hours before being seen, admitted, discharged, or transferred
    • This figure has increased by 25.6% from the previous month, and an increase of 39% compared with March 2022


Back to top Back to top