Health Secretary Humza Yousaf under fire as A&E waiting times ‘crisis’ worsens

HEALTH Secretary Humza Yousaf has been accused of being “missing in action” after A&E waiting times hit another record low last week.

Opposition parties demand Mr Yousaf up his game to address the worsening “crisis”.

Official figures showed only 76 per cent of people were seen within four hours in the seven days to August 15, down from the previous record low of 76.5% set the week before.

The latest figures are – again – the lowest since at least  February 2015, the start of the current weekly time series issued by Public Health Scotland.

The target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

However more than 6,110 people waited longer last week alone.

The number of patients waiting more eight hours also went up from 981 to 1050 last week, more than double the level of ten weeks ago.

However the number waiting more than 12 hours fell slightly last week from 254 to 239.

The decline in standards was inspite of another slight fall in A&E attendances across Scotland, down from 25,582 to 25,461. 

Across Scotland, NHS Forth Valley was once again the worst-performing health board, with 65.6% of its 1,167 patients seen within four hours – down from 74.7% the previous week.

It was followed by NHS Lanarkshire, which saw 67.8% of the 3,977 patients in the target time (down from 67.5% in the week ending August 8) and then NHS Borders with 69.1% (down from 73.7%).

Shetland’s health board was alone in hitting the 95% target, achieving 95.7% of patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

Scottish Labour deputy leader and health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “A&E services are in crisis and the Health Secretary is still missing in action.

“For months now frontline NHS workers have been raising the alarm and the Health Secretary has simply failed to heed their calls.

“This A&E crisis is leading to thousands of Scots being denied the speedy and vital healthcare that they need.

“If the Health Secretary continues to turn a blind eye to this crisis then we face the possibility that lives will be lost. This cannot continue. 

“Humza Yousaf risks losing control of our NHS, with potentially disastrous results. He must act and act now.”

Scottish Tory Health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “The situation with A&E waiting times is now at a critical point. 

“Our NHS is facing its biggest challenge yet as they continue to feel the pressure of the pandemic and a backlog that is growing daily. 

“Despite assurances and promises from the SNP Government, A&E waiting times are at the worst level in six years. 

“Humza Yousaf is letting NHS staff and patients down by continuing to ignore this crisis. He must listen to those on the frontline, and act now to prevent a disaster in our NHS.

“Once again, the Scottish Conservatives stress the need for funds to be allocated that will support the NHS to bring down waiting times, led by clinicians who fully understand the challenges facing the NHS.  

“This fund would alleviate the pressure on A&E services and support Scotland’s NHS to recover from the pandemic.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is exasperating. Week after week, statistics show the pressure our health service is under.

“They show record breaking waiting times. They show people waiting too long to get care and treatment. They show staff under unimaginable pressure, working in impossible conditions.

“And yet, the Health Secretary is conspicuously quiet. The NHS Recovery Plan remains nowhere to be seen. The Health Secretary needs to up his game.” 

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992