Army support 'under review' as Forth Valley Royal Hospital A&E waiting times drop to lowest level on record
Patients at Forth Valley Royal’s accident and emergency unit face the worst waits in the country.
This week it was revealed the hospital has recorded the poorest figures since records began.
Just 41 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in the week ending October 10 – the Scottish Government’s target is for 95 per cent to be seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within that time.
Of the 1167 people who attended at the Larbert hospital’s A&E department that week, 688 waited more than four hours, while 175 patients waited for over eight hours to be seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged.
A further 41 patients waited for more than 12 hours.
While some Scottish health boards, including NHS Grampian, have asked for military support to cope with critical care needs amid the pandemic, NHS Forth Valley (FV) confirmed it has yet to do so – a situation it says “will be kept under review”.
The overall figure across Scotland for A&E patients seen within four hours was 71.3 per cent, the same as the week before.
Across the country, both the number of patients waiting longer than eight hours (1871), and the number waiting more than 12 hours (612), increased.
The latter figure represents the highest number since weekly records began.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf recently announced an additional £300 million for the NHS but warned the service still faces an “incredibly difficult winter”.
Jackie Baillie, Labour health spokeswoman, fears without further action from Holyrood, the NHS will experience “chaos”.
She said: “Thousands of Scots are waiting several hours in pain for treatment.
“And health boards, like Forth Valley, are recording the worst statistics on record.
“Things have to change now, or else we face a winter of chaos.”
An NHS FV spokeswoman said: “Forth Valley Royal Hospital, like many hospitals across Scotland, is exceptionally busy and we have seen high numbers of attendances at our Emergency Department over the last few weeks and many seriously ill patients who require to be admitted for treatment.
“As a result, some patients may have to wait for longer periods of time in the Emergency Department until an inpatient bed becomes available. Staff are doing everything possible to reduce delays and we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone who has experienced a longer wait to be seen at this very challenging time.
“Patients with more serious illnesses and injuries continue to be prioritised and many patients will undergo further diagnostic tests and start their treatment while they are waiting in the Emergency Department to be admitted to a ward.
“A wide range of actions have been taken in recent weeks to help increase capacity across local health and care services. This includes opening additional inpatient beds and treatments areas, increasing AHP cover at weekends to support discharges and expanding our Hospital at Home service.
“Extensive efforts are also being made with our partners to help reduce delays for the many patients who are ready to leave to hospital but are unable to be discharged as they require either a package of care at home or to be transferred to a local care home.
“Local people can also help by not attending the Emergency Department if they have a minor injury or illness and instead call NHS24 on 111 first for advice, day or night.”