Royal College of Emergency Medicine Menu Menu

‘We must eliminate dangerous and unacceptable delays to patient care’, RCEM says as it welcomes new Cabinet Secretary

4 April 2023

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

“As the data show, the start of this year has continued to be difficult in Emergency Care. Patients continue to face long and dangerous waits as staff continue to be stretched to their limit. Ambulance queues, poor patient flow throughout our hospitals, exit block – where patients are stuck in the system in a ‘traffic jam’ – these remain prevalent across Emergency Departments in Scotland.

“We congratulate the First Minister for Scotland, Humza Yousaf MSP, on his appointment to his new role, and we welcome Michael Matheson MSP to the role of Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care. We hope to continue and increase our engagement with the Scottish Government to improve patient care and staff conditions in Emergency Medicine and the wider health service.

“We urge the new Cabinet Secretary to build on the constructive engagement of his predecessor and increase focus on investing in adequate and sufficient social care to discharge patients in a timely way to free up beds. Alongside this, we ask him to prioritise expanding acute bed capacity across Scotland and retaining existing staff. These are the short-term priorities for Emergency Care. It would be wrong to take measures to manage demand and reduce attendances on the front door – such measures do nothing to tackle the root causes of long-term problems.

“In the long-term, we urge the new Cabinet Secretary to look at workforce planning and sustained and continued funding and investment in health and social care to ensure we do not reach the troughs of performance and patient care that we saw in 2022.

“We must reduce and eliminate dangerous and unacceptable delays to patient care that we know are associated with patient harm and patient deaths. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with the new Cabinet Secretary to discuss our Five Priorities for UK Governments for #ResuscitatingEmergencyCare.”

Notes to editor

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

  • There were 95,110 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • 66.4% of patients were seen within four-hours at major (Type 1) Emergency Departments
    • This is an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the previous month, but a decrease of 5.3 percentage points when compared with February 2022
    • 31,964 patients waited over four-hours in major Emergency Departments
  • In February 2023, 10,709 patients waited eight-hours or more in an Emergency Department
    • This is a decrease of 18% from the previous month, January 2023
    • This is the worst February on record
    • This is equal to more than one in 10 patients waiting eight-hours or more in a major Emergency Department
  • 4,751 patients waited more than 12-hours before being seen, admitted, discharged, or transferred
    • This figure has fallen by 25% from the previous month
    • This is the worst February on record
Back to top Back to top