Forth Valley A&E waiting times are showing signs of improvement

Ensuring patients wait no longer than four hours for treatment is the aim of hospital staff
Ensuring patients wait no longer than four hours for treatment is the aim of hospital staff

Hospital bosses are reporting a healthier outlook for patients attending Forth Valley Royal’s A&E unit.

Latest figures show that 94.5 per cent of patients were treated within the four hour target.

This is a vast improvement from earlier in the year when NHS Forth Valley was one of the poorest performing health boards in the country.

In the week ending March 29, 1146 people of all ages arrived at the Larbert hospital’s accident and emergency department and only 63 of them waited more than four hours to be treated.

One person waited longer than eight hours for treatment by medical staff.

Although the figure is slightly down on the previous two weeks, when over 95 per cent were treated within the four hour limit, it is significantly better than earlier in the month when only 81.3 per cent made the target and 23 people waited more than eight hours.

Welcoming the figures, a spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: “While it is gratifying to see an improvement, we recognise that dips can occur in certain weeks and we are certainly not complacent.

“We will continue to carry out work to improve our performance in the weeks ahead.”

Scotland has some of the strictest waiting time targets for A&Es in the UK.

All 14 health boards are expected to see 98 per cent of patients within four hours. This is from the point of arrival to admission, discharge or transfer.

Most boards are aiming for a 95 per cent interim target – which means that Forth Valley has made the grade in recent weeks.

Since February, 16 weekly figures for A&E treatment times have been published. Previously the figures were released quarterly.

The NHS Forth Valley spokesperson added: “Our work to improve performance includes looking at the patient flow through the hospital, as well as our monitoring procedures to ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible.

“The situation has improved and staff are working very hard. The challenge now is to maintain that improvement.”

In recent weeks, the health board has been highlighting the other options available to patients other than visiting the Larbert A&E. These include using the minor injuries clinic at Stirling Community Hospital which is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, and asking pharmacists for advice and over-the-counter medicinces.

The spokesperson said: “There has been an increase in people using the minor injuries clinic which shows our message is getting across.”