7 March 2023
Responding to the latest monthly Emergency Department performance figures for Scotland for January 2023, Dr John-Paul Loughrey, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said:
“The monthly data make clear we are still in the depths of crisis. While it is true that the data for January 2023 show improvements when compared with December 2022, December was the worst month on record. We are relieved that we have mitigated against a repetition of December, but we remain extremely concerned about our patients and their safety, and for the welfare of staff who are struggling. January saw continued high numbers of extremely long waits; the third highest number of 12-hour waits on record. While the weekly data from February also show that we cannot let up in our requirement for substantial improvement.
“As the Scottish leadership election begins, tackling the crisis in Emergency Care as well as the crisis in the wider health and social care system must be a priority for the next First Minister. In 2022, a total of 55,095 patients waited 12-hours or more in an Emergency Department in Scotland. Analysis by the College shows that consequently, in 2022, there were an estimated 765 patient deaths associated with these dangerously long waiting times – equal to an estimated average of 64 each month. This is entirely unacceptable and a marker of a system that is not functioning as it should.
“To tackle this, in Scotland we urgently need a restoration of the acute bed base, that means opening an additional 1,000 staffed acute beds where safely possible. There are also significant shortfalls of staff in Scotland. The Emergency Medicine workforce needs at least 100 more consultants, as well as senior decision makers, ACPs/ANPs/Physician Associates, junior doctors, and vital nurses. We welcomed the expansion of Emergency Medicine medical training places in Scotland by 10, but this expansion is considerably short of what is required and there has yet to be any commitment to maintain this each year.
“This winter continues to be the most challenging yet for the NHS in Scotland. A failure for meaningful action now will prolong the risk to patient safety and maintain these dangerously long waiting times at the detriment to staff who are already burned out and exhausted. 2023 must be the year that we see political will translated into action that improves patient care and conditions for staff.”
Notes to editor
The latest monthly Emergency Department performance figures for Scotland for January 2023 show:
The latest weekly Emergency Department activity and waiting time statistics for week commencing 20 February 2023: