Waiting Times at NHS Lothian

Health Secretary launches investigation following allegations.

Health Secretary Shona Robison has ordered an independent review into concerns around A&E waiting times practices and staff pressure at St John’s Hospital.

Ms Robison was first alerted to claims of non-compliance with recording practices in October when she was contacted by a whistle-blower. She immediately responded and instructed NHS Lothian to carry out a full investigation, which was underway within two days.

Following interim findings which confirmed areas of concern, the Cabinet Secretary has asked the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Chaired by Professor Derek Bell, to undertake an external review to investigate the full circumstances.

The review will report back to the Cabinet Secretary early in the new year.

Ms Robison said:

“These are serious allegations and the early findings are clearly a cause for concern.

“That is why I have asked Professor Bell to lead an independent review of these allegations.

“We are working very closely with the Board to ensure that lessons are learned from the investigation and recommendations made are fully implemented as soon as possible and shared across NHS Scotland.”


The Royal College of Emergency Medicine strongly believes that the four-hour standard is a vital measure of performance and safety.  This is further evidenced in Professor Sir Harry Burns Review of Targets and Indicators in Health and Social Care in Scotland, published just this week, which highlights there is strong evidence of poorer outcomes for patients who wait longer than 4 hours to be seen, treated or discharged.  The Unscheduled Care Improvement programme focuses on delivering optimal patient safety and care at all stages of the patients journey.


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