Dis­torted facts

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Sir, Read­ing in your news item on A&E wait­ing times (Ar­ran Ban­ner, September 2) that some pa­tients in Ayr­shire and Ar­ran were wait­ing eight hours ‘be­fore be­ing seen’, I felt in­stinc­tively that this could not be true.

A 90-sec­ond Google search proved me cor­rect. A check on the NHS In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices Di­vi­sion web­site, where this kind of data is rou­tinely made avail­able, shows that there has been an in­crease in the last month (of less than one per day) in the num­ber of pa­tients in Ayr­shire A&E de- part­ments wait­ing over eight hours ‘to be treated, ad­mit­ted or dis­charged’.

Dur­ing this time they will have been iden­ti­fied, triaged, as­sessed, in­ves­ti­gated, and re­ceived nec­es­sary treat­ment, a process in­volv­ing nu­mer­ous staff with di­verse skills.

Labour MSP Colin Smyth’s dis­tor­tion of the facts is both men­da­cious and in­com­pe­tent, pre­sum­ably in­tended to un­der­mine pub­lic con­fi­dence in the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s stew­ard­ship of the NHS.

I’m con­fi­dent that for pa­tients ill enough to spend eight hours be­ing as­sessed and treated in A&E, the time NHS staff are spend­ing on them will be the least of their con­cerns.

In­stead, they will very prob­a­bly re­flect at some point on how lucky they are to live in a coun­try where emer­gency treat­ment is avail­able to all on a ba­sis of need, is free at the point of use, and where the gov­ern­ment is so strongly com­mit­ted to these cen­tral NHS prin­ci­ples.

Yours, Dr Mal­colm Kerr Brod­ick

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