THE number of people going to Scotlaand’s accident and emergency departments has rebounded to its highest level since the start of the coronavirus lockdown 100 days ago.

Official figures showed there were 21,356 attendances at A&E in the week ending June 21, an increase of 2,097 on the previous week.

The attendance figure was the nighest since the week ending March 15, when there were 24,052 visits to A&E.

The following week, as the lockdown began, there were 16,518 attendances, as people avoided the NHS out of fear of contracting coronavirus and burdening hospitals.

Numbers hit their lowest at the end of March, when there were just 11,059 attendances, leading to fears people were delaying vital treatment.

Of the patients attending A&E last week, 95.2 per cent were seen and admitted, transferred or discharged within the Scottish Government’s target time of four hours.

This was the seconded week in a row the 95% target was met.

The percentage of patients seen within the target time is also far higher than at the same point in 2019, when 88% had to wait four hours or less.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "The latest weekly A&E waiting-times figures show that for the week ending June 21, 95.2% of patients were seen and treated within four hours. This is thanks to the ongoing hard work and dedication of staff in our NHS.

"Although we are beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to physical distancing measures in order to protect themselves and others.

"Emergency departments remain open for people who need immediate care but we would urge those with non-urgent concerns to use the alternative treatment options available which are often more convenient and closer to home.

"These include contacting your GP practice, visiting a local pharmacy or NHS Inform online or calling NHS 24 on 111 who will provide advice and direct people to the most appropriate service."