More than 30,000 patients in Scotland have waited longer than 12 hours in A&E over the past seven years, new figures have revealed.
Waiting times in emergency departments are currently hitting record highs, but the problem of lengthy waits predates the Covid pandemic.
Pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union, which collated the official data, called on the Scottish Government to focus on the intense pressure facing the NHS, rather than seeking to divide communities by plotting an unwanted second independence referendum.
Since 2015-16, a total of 30,111 patients waited longer than 12 hours in A&E across Scotland.
The national target is for patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.
Up to November, the number waiting more than 12 hours in the financial year 2020-21 was 9,936 – a massive increase from 2,878 in the full 2020-21 year.
However, in 2019-20, before Covid fully hit, the figure was 7,245.
More recently, A&E services in January recorded the worst ever weekly performance against the four-hour target.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“The NHS is presently under incredible strain with record waiting times across Scotland.
“But there has been a long-term failure by the SNP to get waiting times to acceptable levels and hit its own targets.
“This has resulted in a lack of resilience built into our NHS, exacerbating the crisis when Covid hit.
“These figures show just how important it is that the government prioritises our cherished NHS and gives staff and patients the support they deserve, rather than trying to divide us with an unwanted second independence referendum.”
This article first here appeared in The Scotsman.
The data is broken down monthly and by health board here: (first excel sheet under “data files”)
Patients waiting longer than 12 hours in A&E:
2021/22 (to November) – 9,936
2020/21 – 2,878
2019/20 – 7,245
2018/19 – 2,810
2017/18 – 3,643
2016/17 – 1,698
2015/16 – 1,901
7-year total – 30,111