HUMZA Yousaf has been accused of “gross negligence” after the number of patients waiting too long in Scotland’s A&E units rose again.

The SNP Health Secretary was condemned after official figures showed more than 30 per cent of those attending casualty last week waited longer than the four hour target.

Public Health Scotland reported that just 69.2% of patients were seen on time in the week to June 12, down from 69.6% the previous week.

It is the worst figure since the week ending April 17, when it was 68.1% on time.

The data also showed sharp rises in extremely long waits, despite the number of people going to A&E falling from 27,849 to 27,034 last week.  

The number of people waiting more than four hours fell slightly (while rising in percentage terms) from 8,479 to 8,335.

However the number waiting more than eight hours increased from 2,052 to 2,235, while the number waiting more than 12 hours in A&E rose from 602 to 761.

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

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned the significant delays are harming or killing more than 30 patients a week. 

The worst performing health board last week was NHS Forth Valley, where less than half of patients, just 49.7%, were seen within four hours.

In NHS Ayrshire & Arran it was 61.6% and in NHS Lanarkshire it was 61.9%.

Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital dealt with just 47.5% of patients within the four-hour limit, while at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary 48.5% of patients were treated within the target time.

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “It’s clear from these appalling figures that there’s no end in sight to Scotland’s A&E crisis – and the tragic, needless loss of life it is causing.

“It’s completely unacceptable that more than 30% of patients are waiting at least four hours to be seen – and the steep rise in the number being forced to wait half a day or more is particularly shocking. Indeed, last week it was reported that one patient had waited a scarcely-believable 40 hours to be seen.

“Humza Yousaf has to get a grip of this chaos and finally accept that his flimsy Covid Recovery Plan isn’t up to the job.

“But along with the poor patients having to endure this woefully-inadequate service, we must never forget the heroic and exhausted frontline staff who are doing all they can to mitigate a crisis created by the SNP’s dire NHS workforce planning – and this at a time when reported cases of staff bullying are rising too.”

HeraldScotland:

Scottish Labour accused the SNP of “gross negligence” over A&E performances.

Health Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “These dire figures represent thousands of people left in pain for hours on end and hundreds of lives put at risk.

“It’s been almost a year since performance started plummeting, but there are still no signs of recovery, despite the tireless efforts of incredible NHS staff.

“The SNP’s gross negligence is putting patients in danger and leaving staff exhausted – it is not good enough.

“Humza Yousaf must act now to put an end to this deadly crisis once and for all.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton added: "Waiting times in our A&E departments are not getting better. 

“Time and time again, we are seeing that the NHS needs new hope but we have yet to see any significant action from this SNP/Green Government which does that.

"Patients deserve to be seen for treatment quickly and close to home, and staff shouldn’t be constantly overwhelmed, but under the SNP that seems less likely than ever. 

"The Health Secretary must finally listen to opposing calls for a Burnout Prevention Strategy which would give staff extra protection, and make plans to create a Health and Social Care Staff Assembly, which would put staff voices at the heart of resolving this crisis."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The latest weekly figures show that more than two-thirds of patients are being seen within the four-hour target, despite the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on services.

“We continue to see high levels of Covid transmission and people in our hospitals with the virus. As these numbers begin to ease we expect to see improvements in performance.”

The spokesperson continued: “Our new Urgent and Unscheduled Care Collaborative programme, which is supported by £50 million of funding, looks to support the implementation of a range of measures to reduce A&E waiting times and improve patient experience, this includes alternatives to hospital-based treatment.

“For many, A&E will not be the right place for their healthcare need. People should consider whether their condition is an emergency, such as a stroke, heart attack or major trauma, before going to A&E.

“Local GPs can be contacted during the day for non-critical care, as well as local pharmacies.

“Scotland continues to have the best performing A&Es in the UK, outperforming those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for over six years.”