Thousands wait double the target time for A&E treatment

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More than 3,000 people waited over eight hours to be dealt with at accident-and-emergency departments in Scotland in a month, figures show.

A Scottish Government target of admitting, transferring or discharging 95% of patients within four hours continued to be missed in January.

A total of 87.2% of the 129,053 people attending A&E were dealt within the time limit that month, latest official figures show.

Of these, 3,170 (2.6%) waited for more than eight hours and 969 (0.8%) waited more than 12 hours.

The performance against the waiting-time target was up on 85.1% the previous month but down on the 91.1% recorded in January 2017.

Weekly figures show 87.5% of people attending emergency departments in Scotland were dealt with within four hours in the week ending February 25, worse than the 89.1% the previous week.

Those waiting longer also increased week on week, from 0.8% to 1.4% waiting more than eight hours and 0.3% waiting more than 12, up from 0.1%.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “It’s depressing to see more people waiting longer than they should have to at A&E.

“NHS staff and patients will be hoping this decline in performance will force the government out of its current state of complacency.

“Performance against the A&E target hasn’t painted a positive picture of the health service for a long time.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “These latest figures for January show that Scotland’s core A&Es have been the best-performing in the UK for the past three years.

“Our hardworking NHS staff have done an incredible job despite a very challenging winter.

“It is thanks to their efforts almost nine in 10 people were admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours despite our A&Es being the busiest they have been in a decade.

“In the last week alone, severe weather has caused significant disruption to our road and rail networks, and staff across our health service have once again gone that extra mile to ensure that the people of Scotland remain safe.”

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