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Action to mitigate the effects of winter.
Outbreaks of flu, respiratory illnesses and more slips and trips are leading to additional pressure on hospitals, Health Secretary Shona Robison said today.
In recent weeks, Health Protection Scotland and Health Boards have reported pockets of the country, including NHS Lothian, being particularly hard hit - with greater attendances at A&E and admissions as a result.
The Scottish Government is working with NHS Lothian to boost its performance throughout the winter. Scottish Government officials will work with NHS Lothian to help tackle waiting times and delayed discharges at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) by helping identify specific issues and providing solutions.
Across Scotland, £22.4 million is invested this year into ensuring good patient flow in hospitals and in the community during this particularly busy spell. NHS Lothian received more than £3 million.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“Cold weather and particularly black ice is affecting the performance of our A&E departments and, while we expect waiting times to fluctuate from week to week in winter, there is no doubt that slips and trips and flu-like illnesses have significantly increased the pressures on our hospitals recently.
“What remains a constant is the dedication of staff across Scotland’s healthcare system who should get the praise they rightly deserve for their hard work.
“Boards are working hard to mitigate against the biting effects of winter. The funding I announced last week will ensure additional staffing and capacity are being made available to build resilience across the whole system and it will take a few weeks for the benefits to work their way through the system.
“We are specifically working with NHS Lothian to help identify and provide solutions to improve flow through the hospital, which in turn will boost its performance and improve waiting times for patients.
“Whilst we are in no way complacent, it is important to note the efforts of our hard working NHS staff. Scotland’s yearly A&E performance is currently sitting at 92.9% and our core A&Es have outperformed those in the rest of the UK for more than two and a half years. We have put record investment into the NHS this year and the recommendations from the Public Holiday Review, published last week, will help winter planning and support people to transfer seamlessly through the system.”
Scotland’s higher level of performance is partly due to the ‘six essential actions’ programme, which was developed and implemented in partnership with frontline staff through the Academy of Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.