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Key A&E waiting times target has not been met in a year

Key A&E waiting times target has not been met in a year
Key A&E waiting times target has not been met in a year
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Image caption The Scottish government said there have been been a lot of additional demand in recent months

A key target for accident and emergency waiting times has not been met for a year, official figures show.

The Scottish government's benchmark for 95% of A&E patients to be either admitted, transferred or discharged in four hours was last met in the week ending 30 July 2017.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said there had been been a lot of additional demand in recent months.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action.

Scottish Lib Dem health spokesman, Alex Cole-Hamilton, accused the SNP of mismanagement and said more resources were needed for the NHS and social care sector.

'Overworked staff'

He said: "Patients and staff have no reason to have confidence in a government which hasn't been able to meet its own targets for a year and which, despite near weekly warnings, hasn't been able to turn this situation around.

"The time for action is now. A year of stalling and failing has to prompt change.

"Staff are pressured, overworked and underpaid. The social care system is under strain and mental health services are horrendously deficient.

"All of this piles more pressure on A&E, either by increasing the number of referrals or by interrupting the flow of patients onwards to other services.

"The new health secretary must make an immediate move to sort it."

Additional patients

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Significant numbers of additional patients have attended A&E over both the winter and summer periods this year.

"Despite this additional demand, latest figures show that more than nine out of 10 patients across Scotland were seen, treated and either admitted or discharged within four hours in the latest week.

"NHS staff numbers are at historically high levels and core A&Es have outperformed those in the rest of the UK for more than three years.

"While we can expect to see periods of fluctuation, hospitals continue to work hard to ensure sustained improvements and I am taking an active interest in work that is already under way to improve waiting times across NHS Scotland."

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