A&E waiting times

Health Secretary thanks all NHS staff working at Christmas.

Health Secretary Shona Robison today praised NHS and community staff dealing with significant extra demand during the Christmas period.

Weekly A&E statistics show that more than 29,000 people attended Scotland’s emergency departments – the highest since weekly reporting began in 2015.

This was 12% higher than the previous week, and 15% higher than the comparable week last year, with the rise being largely attributed to slips, trips and seasonal illness.

During the week ending 17 December 2017:

  • The Scottish Ambulance Service recorded a 40% increase in calls to deal with trauma injuries and, over the weekend of December 16 and 17, a 60% increase in calls related to falls.
  • The surge in A&E attendances occurred in the later part of the week - Raigmore Hospital and Aberdeen Royal Infrmary saw a 48% and 42% increase respectively in attendances between Thursday 14 and Sunday 17 December compared to same period in previous week
  • Hairmyres Hospital reported receiving one week’s worth of ice related trauma demand in just one day
  • Health Protection Scotland report that GP consultations for influenza-like illness (ILI) have increased sharply and are the highest at this time of year in the last four years

On a visit to Ninewells A&E in Dundee, Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“I’m here at Ninewells to say thank you to all NHS staff working this festive season who are giving patients the best possible care in the face of exceptional pressures.

“Despite record numbers of people attending Scotland’s A&E departments - up 3,200 or 12% in just one week - A&E performance fell by a few percentage points. We are not complacent and are doing everything possible to improve that.

“Our additional £22.4 million to deal with pressures this year is being is invested into additional clinical and non-clinical staff to create extra resilience and maintain weekend and festive period patient discharges, so that there is sufficient capacity across the system.

“This year, 92.6% of patients attending A&E were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours and our core A&Es have outperformed those in the rest of the UK for more than two and a half years.

“The Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh continues to suffer a specific set of challenges, with higher A&E attendances, higher admissions and delayed discharges. The Scottish Government is working with NHS Lothian to help identify key actions to improve flow through the hospital and into the community.”

David Chung, Vice President of Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) Scotland said:

“RCEM Scotland recognises the efforts that all have made to ensure that we meet this winter and holiday period better prepared than ever. We hope that these initiatives will mean a better experience for patients and for the staff who are working over the holiday period as well throughout Scotland.

“We have seen exceptional numbers of patients in the week before Christmas, which will undoubtedly affect how we are able to work through the festive period as well. RCEM is proud of the way those working in our emergency departments, and our other colleagues in health and social care, in their commitment and dedication over this festive period.”

Dr Sian Tucker, Clinical Director, Lothian Unscheduled Care Service said:

“GP out of hours services across Scotland and NHS24 are working hard this festive period to provide urgent primary care for patients over the holidays. We have had a great response from our staff and have hundreds of GPs, nurses, non-clinical staff and other health care professionals who will be spending at least part of the holidays working.”


NHS Performs - Weekly Update of Emergency Department Activity and Waiting Time Statistics

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.


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