NHS Forth Valley records worst performance for A&E waiting times among Scottish health boards

NHS Forth Valley is the worst-performing health board in Scotland in terms of the proportion of patients seen in A&E departments within the four-hour national target, latest figures reveal.

By Jonathon Reilly
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 4:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 4:31 pm

Only 65.1 per cent of 1200 people who attended the facility at Forth Valley Royal Hospital were admitted, transferred or discharged in that time frame in the week ending July 11.

Across the country, the number of patients seen in accident and emergency departments within the Scottish Government’s four-hour target has fallen to the lowest level since 2019.

Almost a fifth (19.9 per cent) of the 25,418 patients who went to A&E in the week ending July 11 waited more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged.

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Forth Valley Royal Hospital's A&E department fell below the Scottish Government's waiting times target for the week ending July 11. Picture: Michael Gillen

There were 712 patients who waited longer than eight hours – and a further 167 faced a wait of more than 12 hours.

The Scottish Government’s target is for 95 per cent of patients to wait no longer than four hours, although this has not been met since July 2020.

The latest weekly figure of 80.1 per cent compliance with the target is the lowest level recorded since December 2019.

The island health boards of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles were the only ones to exceed the target, achieving 98.3, 96.6 and 95.3 per cent respectively.

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The latest figures also show the total number of A&E attendances have been falling since reaching a pandemic peak of 28,492 during the first week of June.

An NHS FV spokeswoman said: “Forth Valley Royal Hospital, like many hospitals across Scotland, has been very busy over the last few weeks and we are seeing high numbers of people having to be admitted to hospital due to Covid-19 and other serious health issues.

“We are also continuing to carry out as much planned activity as possible to avoid the need to cancel large numbers of operations or appointments.

“This, however, does impact on our four-hour access standard as some patients who need to be admitted to hospital after attending the emergency department may have to wait for longer until a suitable bed becomes available.

“We have opened up a number of additional beds to help increase capacity and are working closely with our partners to reduce delays for patients who are ready to leave hospital.

“Local people can also help at this busy time by calling NHS 24 on 111, day or night, if they think they require urgent care but it’s not something life-threatening.

“NHS 24 staff can offer advice or arrange for a local healthcare professional to get in touch who can organise an appointment at the Minor Injuries Unit in Stirling or the new Urgent Care Centre in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, if required.”

Last week we told how people were asked only to attend FVRH’s A&E if it is absolutely necessary in a bid to ease the strain on the stretched department.

The local health board also said it always “works hard” to manage staff absences due to illness, annual leave or the need to self-isolate and provide “appropriate cover” as and when it is needed.

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