Waiting times have rocketed to the worst in six years at the struggling Royal Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department as a politician says he fears “lives are on the line”.
Figures just released show that just 62.3 per cent of patients were seen in line with the Scottish Government’s four-hour target time – the worst recorded performance according to records dating back as far as February 2015.
They are even down on the 68 per cent figure recorded in the week ending August 1, which were the worst at the hospital since winter 2017.
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A whopping 413 patients out of 1,096 who attended for emergency treatment at the Corsebar Road site in the week up until October 3, waited more than four hours.
The guidelines call for 95 per cent of emergency patients to be admitted, treated, transferred or discharged within the time frame.
But figures have fallen dramatically as the NHS struggles to cope -some 143 patients waited more than eight hours, while 33 were still waiting after 12 hours.
The Scottish average for the same week was 71.3 per cent.
Now West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby, who is based in Paisley, says he has serious concerns over RAH services.
He told Renfrewshire Live : “These are very worrying and serious statistics – the worst A&E waiting times on record and RAH patients are not getting the care they need, when they need it.
“Let me be clear – the fault for this does not lie with our amazing RAH staff but with the Scottish Government in Edinburgh who have been ignoring the warnings from our staff and have denied the scale of the challenges facing them.”
And he levelled further criticism at the Holyrood government, saying: “The Scottish Government continues to be distracted from the day job and has taken its eye off the ball regarding the crisis in our NHS.
“Our dedicated NHS staff have gone above and beyond – they must be supported and listened to. Instead their warnings over a lack of a proper plan and resources have been disgracefully ignored by the First Minister and Health Secretary.”
He added: “We need to see a recovery plan for our NHS that has the support of frontline staff and medical professionals. We need to see other parts of the NHS such as GP’s, public services and if necessary the British Army supported to take pressure of our hospitals.
“It is becoming clear that we are on track for another winter catastrophe this year if we fail to act. There is no time to waste when this many lives are on the line.”
We told on Monday how Paisley woman Jeanette Carden revealed she waited more than eight hours in the back of an ambulance outside the RAH before she was eventually admitted.
But the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease sufferer was later transferred onto a ward as the lone female alongside five male patients – where she faced a catalogue of issues and compared her treatment to the “third world”.
Health Minister Humza Yousaf announced a £300 million “multi-year” finance package last week, which is supposed to help the NHS restart services and shore them up for winter.
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said demand on emergency departments had added to the burden facing the health service.
He said: “Across Scotland, there is a significant demand on health services including Emergency Departments and receiving units which are seeing an increased number of patients with a broad range of conditions. This means our clinical staff are extremely busy caring for those additional patients as well as increasing numbers presenting with COVID – whilst at the same time maintaining enhanced infection control precautions for all.
“Our ED teams have been working extremely hard and for a considerable period have managed to see, diagnose and admit or discharge the majority of patients within the four hour target. In recent weeks, however, as has been the case across Scotland, pressures on our services have been mounting due to increased covid infection, rising ED attendances and additional staffing pressures.”
He added: “We want to thank all of our teams for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time. We continue to prioritise emergency, trauma and cancer care alongside the increasing COVID admissions. We recognise the strain this has put on both staff and services and will support both as much as possible.
“We would urge everyone – in line with the national model of care, Right Care, Right Place – to remember that our partner GP surgeries across the Board area are open, and continue to provide great care for their communities. If patients have a concern or a condition for which they would normally contact your GP, please continue to do so. Outwith that please contact NHS24 on 111. Please do not go to a GP Out of Hours clinic without an appointment. Pharmacies can also advise on minor ailments, or simple healthcare advice.”
Patients who require attention are urged to call NHS24 and only attend emergency departments if their condition is life-threatening.
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