Anger over hospitals’ waiting times
Rutherglen and Cambuslang hospital patients who go to A& E in Glasgow are more likely to be left waiting for over four hours than patients elsewhere in Lanarkshire.
Figures show NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) hospitals have failed to meet the 95 per cent target every week this year.
NHS Lanarkshire fares little better, meeting the target just once in 2016.
On average, 89.1 per cent of patients going to A&E in Glasgow have been seen within four hours this year, compared with 91.4 per cent at NHS Lanarkshire hospitals.
Although Rutherglen and Cambuslang fall under the jurisdiction of NHS Lanarkshire, most people from the area use Glasgow hospitals.
Figures released last week for the week ending April 3 show 766 out of 6,978 patients in Glasgow were left waiting for over four hours. Of them, 28 had to wait eight hours before seeing a doctor.
In the same week 3,890 people visited a Lanarkshire A& E department and 332 waited over four hours – with 35 waiting longer than eight hours and three people waiting more than 12 hours.
Across the two regions, Glasgow Royal Infirmary was the worst performer with just 81.5 per cent.
NHSGCC’s website encourages Rutherglen and Cambuslang residents to attend the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where 87.2 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in the week up to April 3.
At the NHS Lanarkshire Hospital closest to the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area, Hairmyres, 1,293 people attended A&E there and 92.3 per cent were seen within the fourhour limit.
A spokesman for NHSGGC insisted the figures were improving: “We are fully committed to ensuring patients are seen, treated and either admitted or discharged as quickly as possible and want to thank our hard working staff for all their efforts.
“Performance figures for emergency departments, by their nature, will always fluctuate on a day to day basis. The current performance across GGC remains consistently better than the same period last year. This progress has been achieved despite the challenges winter traditionally brings nationally.
“The migration of three emergency departments becoming one at the QEUH has led to 12 hour stays in A&E falling by almost 97 per cent, while eight hours stays have decreased by more than 80 per cent over the last 12 months.
“We are confident the steps we have been putting in place will further improve waiting times.
“These steps include treating hundreds of patients at our three Minor Injury Units, which are entirely separate to emergency departments; services to support patients to return home at the weekend; and close working with local authority colleagues to ensure people are discharged as soon as they are ready.”
Heather Knox, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of acute services, said: “Our staff work hard to avoid delays and we regret any occasion where this occurs. The challenge to meet the national target is not unique to NHS Lanarkshire and is experienced by acute hospitals across the country.
“What the statistics cannot show is the range of complex conditions people present with and the impact this can have on waiting times. Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our patients and to provide effective care and treatment based on clinical priority.”
Long wait Only 87.2 per cent of A&E patients were seen within four hours at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the week leading up to April 3