There was a Tweet I saw this morning from someone who thinks the 84-hr wait case was his mother. From what he said in the Tweet the circumstances surrounding the case were quite different to the impression given by DRoss or whichever one of the interchangeable wastes of space brought it up.
On the subject of A&E waiting times it cannot be disguised, and should not be glossed over, that the A&E waiting times in NHS Scotland have been on a downward trend for some time and this has been made worse by the number of attendances at A&E returning to their pre-Covid levels. The reasons for this are one way or another Covid related.
Firstly, the obvious one, staff absences due to Covid. This may be absences in A&E itself but absences in other parts of the hospital may impact on the time taken to process patients. For example, ward closures due to Covid, X-Ray Depts shortstaffed & Labs causing hold ups in getting test results etc.
Secondly, Covid and especially the publicity overspill from England about the difficulty of seeing your GP may have resulted in a change in the nature of the patients presenting at A&E which changes what has to be done to process patients. There may be a research project in there for someone to find out if there was a material change in the type of patient presenting at A&E and the illnesses they presented with and whether this resulted in longer waits in A&E.
Thirdly, the numbers being admitted from A&E into hospitals already struggling because of delayed discharges and staff absences. Around one quarter of all patients attending A&E each month are admitted to hospital. Weekly attendances are around 25k- 27k so around 6k-7k will be admitted. We know there are problems with staffing etc in care homes and getting carers for Care in the Community all of which feeds back to create a bottleneck in hospitals with bed blocking. Again Covid & staff absences affect every stage of this process.
So what to do?. Well perhaps create a safer Environment in hospitals and care homes for staff and patients would be a useful 1st step. Ventilation, air filtration and CO2 monitoring in every part of buildings and FFP2 masks as standard would reduce transmission and hence staff absences.
I am sure people can come up with some more ideas to add to this.
2 thoughts on “The reasons for NHS Scotland’s A&E figures are Covid related”
I’m afraid that for the opposition parties, their pals in the media and almost half the population “SNP baaaaaddd” explains al they’re interested in.
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Yes there will be many reasons for this. I think you are correct about GP appointments, it can be harder to get an appointment these days, quite frankly, we have given up calling them mostly, my son has lost confidence in them. Perhaps we were a classic case the other day in calling 111 and ending up in A&E, rather than trying to see a GP. The GP can though refer a patient on, so it’s always worth calling them anyway, not always easy to weigh up what’s best when someone is very unwell.
GP’s are not really part of the NHS? Also, many have left the practice, taken early retirement, they can afford to, and they work part time anyway. Maybe we need specialist emergency (but non life threatening) centres, but I guess here in Edinburgh that’s called a minor injuries clinic, which actually are very good, though limited in hours available.
The Labour party scrapped the A&E at the Western General in Edinburgh, in fact we are lucky to have the Western Gen. hospital at all, they were planning to close it down. Can’t imagine where we would be if they had got away with that, a population of 500k and growing, with one hospital on the outskirts of the city.
Labour’s legacy is a disgrace and could have been even worse had they not beeen booted out at Holyrood.