Glasgow & West Scotland

New hospital A&E waiting times 'not good enough', Scottish Labour says

South Glasgow University Hospital
Image caption The Glasgow-based hospital apologised last week over its A&E waiting time performance

Nearly 4,000 patients have waited more than four hours in A&E at Scotland's newest hospital since May, according to Scottish Labour.

The party said it had analysed NHS figures for the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow.

Last week the hospital apologised after waiting time performance hit a new low.

The Scottish health secretary said she had been assured by the health board that urgent action was being taken to improve the flow of patients.

The Scottish government target is for 95% of A&E patients to be seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

Scottish Labour said a total of 3,852 patients had spent more than four hours in A&E since the hospital opened.

'Not good enough'

The party's public services spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, said: "NHS staff in Scotland work incredibly hard to deliver the care that Scots need, but it is clear that even at the new £850m flagship hospital things are going wrong.

"Just last week we saw the hospital needing urgent specialist support for the second time in just four months.

"It's clear that the hospital hasn't been getting the long-term resources it needs from the SNP government.

"The hospital struggled to hit the SNP's A&E waiting time target in the middle of summer and autumn - the problems at the hospital need to be fixed now before winter comes.

Image copyright John Young

"Scottish Labour asked SNP Health Minister Shona Robison back in May to consider pausing the transfer of patients to ease the burden on the new hospital, but she said no.

"Now we see thousands of patients waiting longer than they should have to for care. It's just not good enough and SNP ministers must get a grip."

'Improvements needed'

In a statement, Ms Robison said NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde was taking forward measures to improve A&E performance at the hospital.

She said: "Whilst they had made significant improvements since they first opened, performance of late has been too inconsistent and it is clear that improvements are needed to further increase capacity and drive down waiting times - patients rightly expect nothing less.

"I have received assurances from the health board that urgent action is being taken to create more capacity in the immediate assessment unit in order to improve the flow of patients as well as working with staff to streamline clinical processes to support early discharge and avoid A&E delay.

"Across Scotland, A&E waiting times are consistently shorter than the equivalent period last year, with less long waits, and performance some eight percentage points better since weekly reporting began in February.

"The last two publications of monthly official statistics have shown Scotland A&E performance above 95%."

Winter preparation

She added: "As winter approaches, the Scottish government is working with boards to embed the improvements we have seen, and ensure the whole health and social care system works together to deliver the best possible emergency care.

"NHS Scotland is two months ahead in our winter preparation than compared to previous years."

The £842m facility, formerly known as the South Glasgow University Hospital, started taking patients in April.

Dubbed a "super-hospital", the campus replaced the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids at Yorkhill, the Southern General Hospital, the Western and Victoria infirmaries and the Mansionhouse Unit.

But within weeks there were claims of "chaos" with patients complaining of long waits to be admitted.

In June, the Scottish government announced that a team of experts would be sent in to help staff improve A&E waiting times at the site.

Performance rose markedly as a result, with the hospital hitting a rate of more than 90% since the end of July.

But in the week ending 4 October, the figure dropped sharply, making it the worst performing site in Scotland.

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