Missed targets at Larbert hospital put pressure on board

Accident and emergency units are facing winter pressures
Accident and emergency units are facing winter pressures

Patient pressure on the A&E department at Forth Valley Royal has eased slightly, but is still “challenging”.

The hospital was one of the worst performing across Scotland for the length of time people were waiting to be seen over the festive period.

Although the situation has improved, there are still patients waiting more than four hours to be seen in the showcase hospital’s accident and emergency unit.

Figures from the Scottish Government show that almost one in five people had to wait longer than the target time with 83.1 per cent treated compared to a Scottish average of 88.8 per cent.

Only Greater Glasgow and Clyde had a poorer performance record at 82.6 per cent seen within four hours.

Boards have said one of the key challenges over this period has been the number of admissions to hospital, reflecting more seriously ill people are turning up at A&E.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: “We did see an increase in attendance at our emergency department over Christmas and New Year compared with the same period last year.

“Staff worked very hard to manage demand and, although we met the four hour target on a number of days, unfortunately we did not meet it consistently throughout the two-week festive period.

“The majority of patients, however, were seen within four hours and we continued to provide safe and effective care to everyone who required hospital treatment throughout the festive period.

“Our emergency department performance has 
improved over the last few weeks, however, winter is a very busy and challenging time of year and work will continue to reduce waiting times over the coming weeks and months.”

Last week, Health Secretary Shona Robison announced additional funding for health boards to help cope with the pressures faced by the NHS.

Forth Valley will receive an additional £2 million, taking its total uplift for next year to £11.8 million.

Ms Robison said: “Our NHS services face challenges as a result of the increase in patients, with more complex illnesses, and the rising costs of expensive new drugs.

“This additional investment increases the resources available to NHS Forth Valley and will help alleviate these pressures, ensuring our NHS can continue to deliver effective and sustainable care to patients in this area.”

Welcoming the announcement, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “Advances in technology and the development of new medicines make an incredible difference to the treatment of patients, but often there are rising costs that come with such developments.

“The increased funding announced will help to address those increased pressures and ensure that patients in Forth Valley receive the best healthcare possible.”