The number of people experiencing long waits for A&E treatment has dramatically reduced since last winter, according to new statistics.
Figures released by ISD Scotland today (Tuesday) show that the number of people attending A&E who were seen and treated within four hours was 93.5 per cent for December 2013, which has increased from 90.3 per cent in December 2012.
In October 2013 the figure was 93.9 per cent, and in November 2013 it was 94.7 per cent.
The statistics also show that 480 patients spent more than eight hours in A&E (0.38 per cent of all attendances) in December 2013, a reduction of 69 per cent from December 2012 when the figure was 1,555.
In addition, 42 patients spent more than twelve hours in A&E (0.03 per cent of all attendances) in December 2013, a reduction of 87 per cent from December 2012 when the figure was 323.
The statistics also show an increase in all A&E attendances from 1.60 million in 2008/09 to 1.65 million in 2012/13.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said:
“These figures show that despite the busy winter period, we are continuing to make progress on last year’s A&E performance, with an increase in the number of patients seen within four hours.
“This year NHS boards have made a number of changes to ensure they are better prepared to manage potential increases in demand over the winter period.
“That is why we introduced our three-year £50 million emergency care action plan, so that health boards can put in place a number of new measures to ensure we can cope with the added strain that winter can bring.
“Over £9 million of this money has already been released to health boards to support their planning, which is triple the amount given to boards for winter planning last year.
“Thanks to improvements already made through the action plan, I am encouraged that NHS boards have performed better in comparison to the same period last year, although I would still emphasise that any long waits are unacceptable.
“I am not complacent, and we continue to work closely with health boards across Scotland to improve their performance. I remain very much aware that the winter challenges A&E departments face go beyond the hospital’s doors, and that the integration of health and social care will be vital to improving patient flows in the future.”