The hidden factors behind Larbert hospital’s poor A&E statistics

New figures show NHS Forth Valley and its flagship hospital Forth Valley Royal appear to be the worst in Scotland when it comes to emergency treatment waiting times.

According to latest NHS Performs figures, NHS Forth Valley has been falling well below target when it comes to A&E patients seen within four hours, with Larbert’s FVRH only managing to see 74.1 per cent of its emergency patients within that limit, when the Scottish average is 88.2 per cent.

St John’s Hospital in Livingston managed 80.5 per cent, while Ayr University Hospital achieved 82.1 per cent.

However, there are those who feel there are hidden factors which these raw statistics fail to take into account.

An NHS Forth Valley insider said: “I think there is a lack of knowledge about the level of injury A&E is supposed to treat. There are people who attend at A&E who shouldn’t be there – their injury could be dealt with either by their GP or by sticking a plaster on it at home.

“Then you have people struggling to get a GP appointment so they go to A&E instead. Also, there are increasing incidents of drunk people causing disturbances – police are an almost constant presence at A&E now – as they wait for treatment, causing delays in other people being seen as staff have to deal with them.”

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson noted the poor performance figures, but said work was being carried out to improve them.

He said: “The Scottish Government health minister and her department are working with NHS Forth Valley’s management team to address FVRH’s low performance against the four-hour A&E target.

“I trust this support will lead to the improved performance patients deserve and expect. Our dedicated NHS staff are fully committed to delivering a first-class health service.”

An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “We are taking forward a number of actions to reduce waiting times within our emergency department and ensure patients with more urgent or serious health issues continue to be treated as quickly as possible.

“This includes work to reduce the number of delayed discharges to help free up beds for patients who require to be admitted and provide more community-based alternatives for patients who don’t require inpatient care.

“Local people can also help reduce pressure on the emergency department by making use of local pharmacy services for minor, non-urgent health problems. The Minor Injuries Unit at Stirling Health and Care Village also provides treatment and advice for patients across Forth Valley over the age of one and is open every day from 9am to 9pm.”