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Raigmore Hospital in Inverness records worst waiting times since records began


By Val Sweeney


Patients seeking treatment at Raigmore Hospital's accident and emergency department in December faced the worst waiting times on record.
Patients seeking treatment at Raigmore Hospital's accident and emergency department in December faced the worst waiting times on record.

PATIENTS seeking treatment at Raigmore Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Inverness in December faced the worst waiting times since records began.

New figures show 85.1 per cent of people were seen within the four-hour target time – far short of the Scottish Government’s standard of 95 per cent, and lower than any month since 2007.

Statistics also show 49 people waited more than eight hours, while 12 waited over 12 hours.

In total, 3135 patients attended the city’s A&E department during December last year, with 2669 seen within the target time.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant called on the government to “get a grip”.

She said: “This is the worst waiting time figure for Raigmore’s accident and emergency department and points to what staff have been saying for some time – that the health service is seriously underfunded and under-staffed.

“NHS Highland continues to face a challenging financial situation this year, combined with new leadership at the top, and frontline staff are under increasing pressure.

“Surely it’s about time the Scottish Government got a grip of the situation and looked at these worrying statistics and the effect on patients as well as staff.”

Regional Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said: “This trend is something that should concern everybody as it shows that the service seems to be under unprecedented pressure.

“Nicola Sturgeon has to accept that after 13 years in office, we have every right to expect an improved health service.”

Katherine Sutton, NHS Highland’s head of acute services, said like other Scottish health boards, it had seen a significant increase in unwell patients, which made it more difficult to meet the four-hour target in December.

She said the region’s emergency departments, including Raigmore, consistently performed above the Scottish average and in December, was among the top two performing mainland health boards.

A total of 88.6 per cent of patients across the region were seen within the four-hour target compared with the Scottish average of 81.6 per cent.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Scotland’s emergency departments saw the highest attendances in December partly due to an early flu season and an increase in respiratory conditions, but that they continued to be the best performing in the UK.

“We’re investing nearly £20 million to support improvements in unscheduled care to help address the challenges our accident and emergency departments face,” she said.



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