Alarming: A&E chiefs from 68 hospitals warn patients are 'dying prematurely'

Joy Montgomery
January 14, 2018

Robison said: "Scotland's accident and emergency departments are continuing to outperform those across the rest of the United Kingdom - and indeed it is to the great credit of NHS staff that even at the height of these exceptional winter pressures, nearly eight out of ten people who attended A&E were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four hour target".

In response to the letter, a department of health and social care spokesman said more A&E consultants had been employed since 2010, with £2.8bn allocated for further recruitment over the next two years.

It adds that some of these people are dying prematurely as a result and says that serious cases of deaths and delays reported in recent weeks "are not outliers" and are happening around the country.

Opposition party leaders criticised the Scottish Government's management of the health service during First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Our experience at the front line is that these plans have failed to deliver anywhere near what was needed.

"Extra medical and nursing staff were employed in all key areas and extra bed space was opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital".

The letter adds that sometimes the consultants see over 50 patients at a time who are waiting to be shifted to a bed in the emergency departments.

OnMedica reports that the organisation said pressures being experienced by front-line health and care services this winter "are a watershed moment for the NHS".

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It reads, the "current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff".

So as a matter of urgency we ask that you consider supporting strategies that will reduce crowding in our Emergency Departments.

The Scottish Ambulance Service reported an nearly 40 per cent increase in the number of calls on Hogmanay alone while NHS 24 received more than 45,000 calls in the four days over Christmas. She said that the Department was aware of the "great deal of pressure in A&E departments" and said they "are grateful to all NHS staff for their incredible work in challenging circumstances".

Her statement to MSPs came as the latest weekly figures showed patients waiting more than four hours in A&E reached record levels during the last week of 2017.

A&E figures show that the target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours has not been met since July 2015.

It also follows another letter from hospital representatives, NHS Providers, warning the health service is at a "watershed moment" and can no longer meet the standards of care set out in the NHS Constitution.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard highlighted the case of 80-year-old Tom Wilson from Newtongrage in Midlothian, who he said waited more than three hours for an ambulance after a fall on New Year's Day.

"This damning message from frontline clinicians could not be any clearer", he added. "As you will know a number of scientific publications have shown that crowded emergency departments (ED) are risky for patients".

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