A&E patients are waiting longer

A&E patients waiting longer, say new Scottish government statistics

Health Secretary Alex Neil said it was a hectic winter for emergency departments

More everyone is watching for longer periods in hospital emergency departments, in accordance with new figures.

One in 10 admissions weren’t seen within a target of 4 hours between October and December.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said it was a hectic winter for A&E departments and he will be ploughing in £6m to take care of the 2013 winter period.

The Scottish government announced it was investing £50m over three years in an overhaul of emergency care.

The Scottish Conservative Party said the most recent figures showed that the country’s casualty wards had recorded their “worst performance for greater than six years”.

Health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “This problem was getting progressively worse and now we all know the genuine extent of the crisis.

“The Scottish government must explain why it was a whisker far from hitting these targets in past years, only to be now spectacularly missing them.”

In October, 94.4% of patients were treated within four hours of attending A&E, the figure for November stood at 93.5% and for December it fell further to 90.3.

Mr Neil said it was important that as many of us as possible were treated within four hours in their admission to accident and emergency and, while the overwhelming majority were, he added that “improvements can still be made”.

In other waiting time statistics, it was revealed that only seven people did not be treated within a brand new NHS waiting guarantee of 12 weeks.

The legal ruling came into effect initially of October.

Out of 58,070 patients, seven missed the 12-week guarantee, but they were treated within a couple of days of that period ending.

Mr Neil was pleased the majority were making the most of the recent legal guarantee.

However, he said he desired to see 100% of patients being given the perfect to be “treated quickly”.

“i’ve got already made clear that we’re taking significant action to enhance unscheduled care in Scotland to be sure persons are seen and treated in our hospitals and as quickly as possible,” added Mr Neil.

“Changing your complete system takes time, that’s why – as a part of that investment package of £50m – we shall be doubling our winter planning fund to £6m this year.”

Last week, the financial watchdog, Audit Scotland, said poor record keeping by health boards made it difficult to mention even if hospitals were really treating people quickly or manipulating their waiting figures.