Scotland

Scottish A&E waiting time figures better than England

hospital ward Image copyright PA

Scotland's A&E units performed better than those in England in December, despite some of the worst figures on record, a BBC analysis has found.

Figures just released for the NHS in England show that 77.3% of "type 1" attendances at major A&E units were dealt with inside the four-hour target.

Scottish figures are released weekly, but a calculation for four weeks in December shows the figure was 82.3%.

Even the worst week was better than the total December figure for England.

The target for both England and Scotland is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

On Tuesday, Scottish figures showed those waiting more than four hours hit the highest level in the three years since weekly reporting began.

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Major emergencies

Scotland's health secretary said the figure of 78% of patients being seen within the target in the last week of December reflected a "very challenging" time for the health service.

Shona Robison said the number of flu cases had been double the same period last year and this had caused "exceptional pressures" for A&E.

However, earlier in the month, before the outbreak of flu and the effects of severe weather, Scotland's A&E departments saw almost 87% of patients within the target time.

For the four weeks beginning on 4 December, 82.3% of major A&E emergencies were dealt with within the target time.

The Scottish figures are compiled separately to the NHS figures in England but are "broadly comparable" to type 1 emergencies south of the border.

The NHS England also publishes a figure which includes walk-in clinics, minor injury units and specialist emergency units.

Performed better

The December figure for all emergency units in England was 85.1%. The comparable figure for Scotland will not be available until early next month but should be higher as the pressure on minor injury units is not usually as great.

The English figure of 77.3% of patients in type 1 A&E departments being seen within four hours is a new low, but is only slightly down on the 79.3% figure for the same month in 2016.

The Scottish figure for December is well down on the same month in 2016, when it was above 90% every week.

Last month, BBC analysis of NHS data showed that Scotland had constantly performed better than England over the past three years.

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