A&E wait­ing across Tay­side on the rise as de­mand soars.

HEALTH: Un­prece­dented win­ter blamed for ‘hor­ren­dous’ Tay­side fig­ures

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­courier.co.uk JAKE KEITH

Un­prece­dented win­ter de­mand at Tay­side’s A&E de­part­ments is to blame for “hor­ren­dous” new fig­ures show­ing a huge in­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients left wait­ing on trol­ley beds.

A free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest by the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives showed 2,392 vis­i­tors waited more than four hours at ac­ci­dent and emer­gency de­part­ments – the high­est on record and al­most dou­ble the 2017 fig­ure of 1,255.

And 322 peo­ple — again al­most dou­ble com­pared to the 167 in 2017 — were forced to wait on trol­ley beds, used be­fore pa­tients are taken to be seen by doc­tors for treat­ment.

Wait­ing times in lo­cal emer­gency de­part­ments in Dundee and Perth have con­sis­tently been among the best in Scot­land in re­cent years, how­ever, of­fi­cials say the harsh win­ter of 2017-18 brought in “ex­cep­tional num­bers” of sick and in­jured pa­tients.

North East re­gion MSP Liam Kerr said the fig­ures were “hor­ren­dous”.

He added: “More and more peo­ple are wait­ing to be seen in an A&E room. Many peo­ple will know this is stress­ful enough. Just wait un­til you’ve been there more than four hours and then have to sit on a trol­ley once you’ve been ad­mit­ted.”

NHS Tay­side’s un­sched­uled medicine clin­i­cal care group di­rec­tor Dr Ron­ald Cook said last win­ter saw a mas­sive spike in the num­ber of pa­tients pre­sent­ing with res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions and flu-like ill­nesses. He also noted a sharp in­crease in the num­ber of pa­tients with bro­ken bones dur­ing icy weather.

He added: “De­spite the ad­di­tional pres­sure on ser­vices, our staff coped well with the in­creased de­mand and worked tire­lessly to en­sure we con­tin­ued to pro­vide safe and ef­fec­tive care for our pa­tients. Our per­for­mance against the four-hour stan­dard for A&E quickly re­turned to its usual high level and has since re­mained con­sis­tently above the tar­get. We know that win­ter is chal­leng­ing for health ser­vices and we have tried to work dif­fer­ently this year to best pre­pare.”

NHS Tay­side aims to avoid a re­peat of last year’s win­ter strain through a £738,000 plan­ning ini­tia­tive.

The health board said it will use a Holy­rood grant to pro­vide an ad­di­tional 16 beds at hos­pi­tals across the re­gion, in­clud­ing at an acute frailty unit for el­derly pa­tients at Ninewells Hos­pi­tal.

Con­sul­tant and clin­i­cal lead for emer­gency medicine Dr Julie Ron­ald said: “De­spite busy times our emer­gency de­part­ments in Ninewells and Perth Royal In­fir­mary de­liv­ered qual­ity care to our pa­tients dur­ing the hec­tic hol­i­day pe­riod. This is un­doubt­edly down to the ded­i­ca­tion, hard work and ca­ma­raderie of the whole emer­gency de­part­ment cler­i­cal, por­ter­ing, nurs­ing and med­i­cal teams.

“The emer­gency medicine team in Tay­side works col­lab­o­ra­tively with our col­leagues in the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice, NHS 24, pri­mary care ser­vices and in-hos­pi­tal med­i­cal and nurs­ing teams to en­sure that the right pa­tients are seen in the right place at the right time, and this has worked par­tic­u­larly well dur­ing this busy fes­tive pe­riod.”

Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive MSP Liam Kerr has branded the wait­ing times “hor­ren­dous”.

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