WAITING time performance in Scotland’s A&E departments improved on all fronts last week, although almost a third of patients still waited too long to be treated.

Official figures from Public Health Scotland showed 67.7 per cent of people were seen within the four-hour target in the week to September 4, up from 66.1% the week before.

However in one health board, NHS Forth Valley, just 43% of patients were seen on time.

The overall number of people waiting more than four hours fell from 9,004 to 8,730.

The numbers enduring extreme waits also fell, although they remained among the highest since comparable records began in early 2015.

The number of patients waiting more than eight hours fell from 2,766  to 2,660, while the number waiting more than 12 hours in A&E fell from 1,052 to 982.

This was in spite of attendances increasing slightly from 26,555  to 27,016 last week.

The official 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 figure has been below 70% in Scotland since the week ending May 22.

After NHS Forth Valley, the worst performing health boards were NHS Lanarkshire, with 58.4% of patients seen in four hours, and NHS Fife on 60.4%. 

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

A key factor is a lack of social care places leading to the delayed discharge of patients medically fit enough to leave hospital.

This creates an overall shortage of beds, making it harder to advance patients through A&E.