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Scots A&E waiting times improve for second straight week

A total of 86.6% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

A&E: Waiting times improve but still fall short of target.
A&E: Waiting times improve but still fall short of target. Peter Byrne / PA Archive/PA Images

Accident and emergency waiting times in Scotland's hospitals have improved for a second consecutive week, the latest official statistics show.

For the week ending January 21, a total of 86.6% of A&E patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

While this is a rise of 0.8% on last week's figure, it still falls short of the Scottish Government's waiting times target of 95%.

A total of 94 patients (0.4%) had to spend 12 hours or more in an A&E department waiting to be seen to.

The worst performing health board in Scotland during the week was NHS Forth Valley, where only 79.1% of patients were attended to within the four-hour target.

However, seven health boards exceeded 90%, and four - NHS Tayside, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - passed the government's 95% target threshold.

Across Scotland, 22,963 people checked into an accident and emergency departments over the period, a small increase on the previous week.

It comes only a fortnight after the worst weekly A&E waiting times ever recorded in Scotland, which ministers blamed on a spike in flu cases.

The Scottish Government acknowledged that despite the improvement in waiting times, they are short of the 92.7% figure recorded in the same week of 2017, citing higher flu rates this year.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1406291-worst-a-e-waiting-times-on-record-blamed-on-flu-spike/ | default

Health secretary Shona Robison said: "I welcome these improvements in A&E waiting times, which are due to the continued hard work and dedication of staff right across health and social care system. We will continue to work with health boards to monitor performance closely.

"Flu-like illness in Scotland have decreased slightly and that has helped ease the pressures on A&E, but rates are still around five times higher than same week last year." 

She added: "With a few months left of winter, I am sure there will still be challenges ahead. 

"I'd again urge people who are eligible for the free flu vaccine to take up the offer - it's not too late and it is still the best way to protect yourself from the most common strain of the virus." 

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "Our A&E services are under increasing pressure with thousands of patients waiting hours for treatment and care. 

"NHS staff are working immensely hard but there is only so much we can ask of them. The onus is on Scottish Government ministers to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs."

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