Waiting times at Scotland’s A&E departments have improved, according to the latest figures.
Public Health Scotland data showed that of the 20,580 people seeking emergency care during week ending 15 January, 64% were seen during the target time of four hours.
This was an increase from 57.2% the previous week and is the best performance since November.
However the number of people going to A&E has been decreasing for weeks.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-64385872
A typically grudging response to an 11.8% improvement, contrasting with a tendency to ignore increasing attendances at a time when increasing numbers are waiting.
Not of much interest apparently:
3 012 waiting 8 hours or more, 31.6% down from 4 403 in the previous week.
1 501 waiting 12 hours or more, 33.6% down from 2 261 in the previous week.
2 thoughts on “Massive fall in longer A&E waits”
My goodness, the journalist writing today’s BBC News website article on the latest NHS Scotland A&E performance statistics really showcased their skills. Yes there probably had to be an article from BBC Scotland on the subject today, after all its become a regular accompaniment to the weekly data release. But how to handle news of improved performance?
Here’s how it was done:
(i) report selectively e.g. don’t mention the nature and scale of ALL the improving metrics;
(ii) when mentioning an improvement do so grudgingly – follow positives with a ‘but’;
(iii) however substantial the performance improvement make reference – as a ‘reminder’ – to a performance standard that has not been met nationally by the NHS in any part of UK for years;
(iv) do the usual – the easy, second nature thing – for a BBC. Scotland journalist viz. avoid giving context or perspective, including of course avoiding any comparative performance statistics from England, NI or Wales; and
(v) make phone calls to opposition politicians only too willing to give quotes, including of course typically hypocritical ones that are amplified by the BBC uncritically.
However, thanks to the BBC we learn this from Scottish Tory health spokesperson, Dr Sandesh Gulhane: ‘.. more than one third of patients are still waiting over four hours to be seen and over 1,500 patients had to suffer the pain of waiting more than half a day in A&E on his (the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary’s) watch, which is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.” (my emphasis)
Here is the comparable statistics for the main A&E departments (Type 1s) in England during December 2022, the latest period for which data are available. This information seems (!) relevant as Dr Gulhane’s Tory Party colleague is the responsible Secretary of State:
Percentage of patients seen within the four hour standard = 49.6%. So not more than a third but MORE THAN A HALF OF PATIENTS WAITING OVER FOUR HOURS IN ENGLAND!
Numbers waiting over 12 hours from decision to admit to admission (the DTA metric) = 54,532 (equivalent to c.13,633 per week)
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) estimates that the total number of patients ACTUALLY waiting over 12 hours FROM ARRIVAL at the major A&E departments in England is FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN THE NUMBER PUBLISHED USING THIS DTA METRIC. On that basis, the number in England waiting more than half a day during December would’ve been c. 272,660, or c. 68,165 per week .
For perspective, the 1,500 waiting over 12 hours in Scotland from arrival at A&E – you’ll recall this is a ‘COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE’ NUMBER according to Dr Gulhane – is just 2.2% of the RCEM’s estimated – what the RCEM would regard as the ‘honest’ – figure for major A&E departments in England!
No one should have to wait over 12 hours in A&E. However, whether comparing the population share of waits or waits as a percentage of attendances, the performance of NHS Scotland in these very difficult times continues to be much better than equivalent A&E departments in England. This is despite NHS England being the responsibility of the Tory government in Westminster, THE ONLY GOVERNMENT IN THE UK WITH ALL THE POWERS TO ACCESS THE RESOURCES NECESSARY TO FIX MATTERS.
Candidly, trying to counter this gaslighting gets more and more irritating, tiresome and boring!
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For some inexplicable reason(!), the journalists who produce the BBC News website appear to have missed the latest press release issued by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM). It’s commenting on the status of emergency healthcare in England.
(Many reading this will know that the BBC in Scotland tend not to miss an opportunity to cover what the RCEM has to say about NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government.) This to help make good this ‘surprising’ omission.
Headline: ‘This is a call to action’, RCEM & College of Paramedics say as Lords Public Services Committee detail scale of crisis in Emergency Care’ (19 January 2023)
‘Responding to the House of Lords Public Services Committee’s report Emergency Healthcare: a national emergency published today, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“The report is exactly right: LACK OF HOSPITAL CAPACITY; LACK OF ADEQUATE OR SUFFICIENT SOCIAL CARE; FUNDAMENTALLY DISHONEST 12-HOUR WAITING TIME DATA; INABILITY TO ADMIT PATIENTS; INABILITY TO DISCHARGE PATIENTS; THESE HAVE ALL CONTRIBUTED TO A CRISIS ON A SCALE NOT SEEN BEFORE.
Dr Boyle adds: ‘… THERE REMAINS AN UNWILLINGNESS TO TAKE THE NECESSARY, MEANINGFUL LONG-TERM, CROSS-PARTY ACTION TO TACKLE THE ROOT. This CRISIS WAS FORESEEABLE and has been culminating since long-before the pandemic. A DECADE OF UNDER-FUNDING, UNDER-RESOURCING, CUTS TO SOCIAL CARE ALL MATCHED WITH A FAILURE FOR LONG-TERM WORKFORCE PLANNING AND a significant shortfall in beds have led us to a broken health and social care system.’
“IT IS TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO FACE THIS DIRE CRISIS, TO FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGE ITS DEPTH, AND TO TAKE THE NECESSARY MEANINGFUL ACTION TO TACKLE IT. …”
“Lastly, the Committee are absolutely right, NHS ENGLAND MUST NOW PUBLICLY PUBLISH MONTHLY 12-HOUR A&E WAITING TIME DATA MEASURED FROM THE TIME OF ARRIVAL at the Emergency Department, AS A MATTER OF TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY.”
I’ve added my emphasis to the extracts above in order assist the Scottish Tories’ Dr Gulhane should he by chance read these judgements about his party colleagues in government in Westminster for well over decade!