HUMZA Yousaf has been urged to justify remaining as Health Secretary after A&E waiting time performances hit a series of record lows.

Official figures show almost a third of people in emergency departments waited longer than the four-hour target in the week to September 12.

In some hospitals more than half of patients waited longer. 

There were also record numbers waiting more than eight hours and more than 12 hours.

The Public Health Scotland data showed only 71.5 per cent of patients were seen on time, down from 74.6% the previous week. The previous record low was 74.2%.

It means an unprecedented 7,798 people waited more than four hours to be seen.

Of the 27,354 attendances, a record 1895 also had to wait more than eight hours (up from 1235 the previous week), while a record 551 waited more than 12 hours (up from 293).

The target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. It has not been met nationally since July 2020.

In NHS Forth Valley, only 53.4% of people were seen on time in the week to September 12, with only the three island NHS boards hitting the target.

At the £850m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, only 44.8% of its 1,677 A&E attendances were seen within four hours, with 314 waiting more than eight hours and 78 waiting more than 12.

While at the Royal Informary of Edinburgh, only 52.2% of its 2,509 A&E attendances were seen on time, with 340 waiting over eight hours and 141 waiting over 12.

The dismal figures coincided with reports of record waits for ambulance turnarounds at hospital, as paramedics were unable to drop off patients at overcrowded units.

Nicola Sturgeon last week asked the army for help sorting out the problem, while doctors today warned the NHS needs another 1000 acute beds to cope.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has said the Health Secretary must now come to parliament “to answer for his job”, and offer “seismic” changes.

He said: “These numbers are horrific. Behind each and every one is a person in pain, and a team of staff struggling to help them. Even in the midst of this crisis, these figures are astonishing.

“Health care professionals cannot simply be conjured out of thin air when the going gets tough. It takes years to put them in place, because they are highly qualified and well trained. This crisis is years in the making.

“The Health Secretary had been warned that emergency care was crumbling, and yet after a month of record breaking waiting times things still aren’t improving.

“The pressure in the ambulance service and in A&E departments is deeply intertwined, and so as the Health Secretary comes to parliament today he must answer for his job and offer an apology to patients, families and staff.

“Something seismic needs to be offered to turn this around.”

Tory MSP Sue Webber added: “These figures are shocking and reprehensible.

"They are further evidence that Humza Yousaf’s inaction and lack of leadership has led directly to A&E waiting times hitting yet another record high.

“Thousands of patients are waiting hours on end in A&E departments, despite the best efforts of our heroic frontline staff.

"The SNP’s Health Secretary needs to accept the reality and admit there is a crisis in our NHS, for the sake of patients and equally as important, staff wellbeing.

“Week after week, Humza Yousaf has completely failed to get on top of this situation, and it is patients who are paying the price.

“The response to this crisis has been pitiful. A flimsy pamphlet doesn’t come anywhere close to outlining the money and resource that is needed to support A&E departments who are completely overwhelmed.

“It is time Humza Yousaf produced a proper plan to remobilise our health service and give a guarantee that patients will be treated at A&E as quickly as possible.”

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “The crisis in our NHS is spiralling further and further out of control. Lives are now being jeopardised on a daily basis due to the failure of this SNP government to support the NHS. 

“The SNP government must heed the warnings of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and act now to secure more acute beds for the NHS. 

“If it would help for the Army to set up field hospitals then that must be considered immediately. 

“Lives are on the line – there is no time to lose.”