Forth Valley Royal Hospital: Under pressure services seeing signs of recovery

Under-pressure services at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are beginning to see some signs of recovery.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 6:00 am

After an intensely difficult winter when the local health service had to appeal for help from the Scottish Government, a report to board members this week showed that things are moving in the right direction.

It revealed people arriving at the busy emergency department are still finding it a challenge to be either treated or admitted within the four-hour target.

But the picture is improving.

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Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive NHS Forth Valley. (Picture Michael Gillen)

A total of 1900 patients waited longer than the four-hour target across both the ED and Minor Injuries Unit (MIU); with 293 waiting longer than eight hours and 43 longer than 12 hours.

This was a significant reduction from the November position of 482 and 92 respectively.

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Cathie Cowan, chief executive, said: “Overall compliance in December was 58.3 per cent in our four hour access standard.

“In January that has increased and improved, and at this moment in time we’re sitting just under 70 per cent - so we’re beginning to see the traction coming through and that’s testament to our staff who work very very hard.”

The unscheduled care figures reveal more than how quickly people get emergency treatment, however.

Ms Cowan described them as “a barometer for full system performance” – they are a good indication of how quickly and easily people coming into the hospital’s emergency department and assessment centres can be found beds.

She said this has been a real challenge in recent months, with extra beds being put in wards, taking numbers over capacity.

Other notable areas of concern continue to be access to psychological therapies.

In December, just over half of patients started treatment within 18 weeks of referral although Ms Cowan said that “with investment by the Scottish Government in those areas and recruitment of staff we are hoping that will improve”.

While there continue to be delays affecting Child and Adolescent Mental Health services, in December 69.2 per cent had started treatment within 18 weeks.

Ms Cowan said she was confident that with more staff having been recruited, more improvements will be seen.

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