NICOLA Sturgeon and her Health Secretary have been told to “do your job” after it emerged one patient endured an 84-hour wait for treatment in a Scottish A&E. 

The First Minister told MSPs a wait that long was “unacceptable” but also “exceptional”, and that Humza Yousaf was driving measures to improve performance in A&E units, which she admitted was "not good enough".

It followed Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar both raising delays and problems in the health service at FMQs.

Mr Ross highlighted new figures showing A&E performance fell to a record low last week, with just 63.5% of patients seen within the four-hour target, when 95% should be seen.

He also revealed extreme waits uncovered under freedom of information. 

One patient at University Crosshouse Hospital in NHS Ayrshire and Arran had waited 84 hours and 10 minutes for treatment in January, or 21 times the official target.

He said that was equivalent to starting a wait at FMQs, at noon on a Thursday, and not being treated until  the early hours of the following Monday.

“First Minister, is that really what anyone in Scotland should go through in 2022?” he asked.

Ms Sturgeon replied: “No, and that is clearly an unacceptable situation, but also an exceptional situation, and I am certainly more than willing to look into the particular circumstances around that.”

Mr Ross said such cases were not exceptional, and that another patient had waited 79 hours 35 minutes in A&E at the Crosshouse hospital in April.

While the longest wait in the NHS Borders health board was 64 hours in July.

Mr Sarwar challenged MNs Sturgeon about NHS waiting lists, which had grown from 260,000 when the SNP came to power in 2007, and had hit 420,000 before the pandemic.

When Mr Yousaf launched his NHS recovery plan in August last year, it was 603,000.

Since it was launched, the waiting list had grown to nearly 750,000 or one in seven Scots, and more than 38,000 patients had waited more than 12 hours in A&E, Mr Sarwar said.

“Frankly, people are sick of the same old excuses and this SNP Government always looking for someone else or something else to blame,” he said. “Across Scotland people are getting the same inadequate answer from this Government: Wait.

“Wait in fear for a cancer diagnosis, wait in pain for a hip replacement, wait for others in an ambulance outside A&E, wait anxiously for their child to get mental health treatment and today we discover that life expectancy has dropped again, for a second year running, all under Nicola Sturgeon’s watch.

“After 15 years in power, after 15 years of running our NHS, how long will the people of Scotland have to wait for you and your Health Secretary to do your job?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “We will continue to do our jobs and, ultimately, as always it has been, it is for the people of Scotland to decide whether they want us to continue to do our jobs.

“A two-year pandemic for Scotland, for every country, has presented real and very significant challenges and every day we seek to address these challenges and support those on the front line who are doing that.”

The First Minister also said the Scottish Government would continue to take action “with one hand tied behind our back” to tackle poverty.

She continued: “While I take full responsibility for performance across all of these things in Scotland, I come back to the reality in Scotland in terms of the National Health Service that whatever the challenges we face, thanks to the dedication of those working in our National Health Service, it is performing better than its counterpart in England where the Conservatives are in power and better than its counterpart in Wales, where Labour are currently in Government.

“We’ll continue to address these challenges, we’ll continue to take the steps necessary to do so and we’ll continue to ask the Scottish people to put their trust in us to do exactly that.”

Asked after FMQs how Ms Sturgeon regarded Mr Yousaf's performance, the First Minister's official spokesman said: "Humza is doing a good job in incredibly challenging circumstances."