The number of beds available in Scotland’s A&E departments has fallen to its lowest level in at least five years.
Official figures show that between April and June this year there were only 4,279 available staffed beds, down from 5,011 in the previous three months – and a huge drop from 7,553 just before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The figure is the lowest total recorded by Public Health Scotland in a recent report.
Earlier this month, figures revealed that A&E waiting times were the worst on record, with more than one in four people waiting more than four hours to be seen in October.
There has been a downward trend in hospital bed numbers under the SNP for years, long before Covid-19 struck.
The figures were uncovered by pro-UK campaign Scotland in Union.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“People will rightly be infuriated that in a time of crisis the number of beds is dropping dramatically.
“And this continues a trend that we are seeing over a number of years - the SNP has presided over drastic cuts to the number of hospital beds, meaning that our government was not prepared when the pandemic struck.
“Nowhere is the impact more obvious than in A&E departments, where dedicated doctors and nurses are doing their best in the face of a lack of the resources they need.
“When A&E staffed beds have fallen so sharply, there is a huge knock-on effect on waiting times – with people waiting for hours in pain to be treated.
“The SNP government should drop its obsession with constitutional division and focus on delivering the NHS that staff and patients deserve.”
See source here. A&E activity and waiting times, month ending 31 October 2021:
Scotland has recorded the worst ever monthly performance against the four-hour standard, with 73.5% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.