NHS Forth Valley remains worst in Scotland for A&E waiting times

Statistics published this week revealed NHS Forth Valley’s A&E waiting times are the worst in Scotland with just over half of patients – 51.8 per cent – seen within four hours.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:54 am

The figures also showed 137 patients spent more than eight hours in Forth Valley Royal Hospital A&E department.

Scotland-wide statistics show accident and emergency waiting times have hit all-time record low.

Only 69.6 per cent of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours for the week ending on October 24.

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NHS Forth Valley and Forth Valley Royal Hospital continues to have the worst A&E waiting times in Scotland

Responding to the disappointing figures, Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon said: “A&E services in NHS Forth Valley are in crisis, and the situation is worsening with every passing week.

“Worried patients and their families are crying out for help, and overworked healthcare staff have been sounding the alarm for months. The SNP’s Health Secretary has repeatedly failed to take proper action, and neighbouring NHS Lanarkshire has already declared a Code Black.

“With lives are on the line, NHS Forth Valley needs urgent support to run a fully-functioning health service. Patients and staff need a workable plan for our NHS to avoid this crisis deepening over winter. The Scottish Government must take action now to prevent avoidable deaths and ill-health.”

NHS Forth Valley, which is now responsible for the 13 worst weekly performances recorded by any Scottish health board, has actually improved its figures over the last few weeks and staff – and patients – will be hoping this trend continues.

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An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “Staff are doing everything possible to reduce delays at this very challenging time and patients with more serious illnesses and injuries continue to be prioritised.

"Many patients undergo further diagnostic tests and start their treatment while they are waiting in the emergency department to be admitted to a ward. Colleagues in social care are also experiencing an increase in referrals and significant staff shortages which has led to a high number of patients experiencing delays in being discharged from local hospitals.”

While the A&E figures are improving slightly, delayed discharges in NHS Forth Valley continue to rise.

In the month ending 30 September 2021, there were 3748 days spent in hospital by people whose discharge was delayed, with 2858 of these were due to health and social care reasons.

Central Scotland MSP Gillian Mackay said: “These figures show the pressure being placed on all parts of the health and social care system in Forth Valley. Delayed discharges mean fewer beds are available for patients being admitted to hospital, and they also reveal the severe strain being placed on social care services, which are struggling to meet demand for care packages.

“Delayed discharges have risen in Forth Valley every month since March 2021 and the problem shows no sign of abating. We need a whole-system approach to tackle this.

"I have previously spoken in Parliament about the fact there is an NHS Recovery Plan but no such plan for social care. The fact is we cannot wait for the National Care Service.

"Social care needs a plan of action now.”

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