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Daily Record
Daily Record
Elina Kobzar

Lengthy waits in Dumfries and Galloway's accident and emergency departments branded "humanitarian crisis"

The ongoing lengthy waits in A&E departments have been described as a “humanitarian crisis”.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth hit out over the health service continually missing government targets for A&E and delayed discharge for patients in the region.

The Scottish Government has a target of 95 per cent of patients being admitted to hospital, transferred or discharged within four hours of arriving at an emergency department.

Although NHS Dumfries and Galloway recently saw an improving figure at 78.6 per cent, up from 74.9 per cent compared to the week starting October 2, waiting times are still over eight or 12 hours for some patients.

Mr Smyth said: “The Scottish Government once had a target that 95 per cent of patients would be seen within four hours but that seems to be a thing of the past.

“Rather than take action to end this crisis, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf would rather avoid scrutiny and turn his back on frontline NHS staff who work incredibly hard to keep us safe.

“Week after week we are presented with a humanitarian crisis in our A&E departments. That we are now seeing more people waiting over eight hours for treatment is a deadly warning of the coming winter.”

Figures released by Public Health Scotland show the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharge has increased by 53 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway between August, 2021, and August, 2022.

Across the region, thousands of hours of assessed care are not being provided in homes because of a lack of carers.

An increasing number of care homes closures is also reducing the opportunities for older people to leave the hospital if they require a care home place.

Mr Smyth said: “Delayed discharge must become a thing of the past but every month we’re seeing increases in the numbers of people stuck in the hospital without a suitable care package to allow them to leave.

“Every week I hear from distraught families who say their loved ones cannot get the care they need and it’s not good enough.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said that A&E departments were “working under significant pressure”, and added that “in common with healthcare systems in the UK and globally, the pandemic continues to affect services”.

He added that £50 million has been made available to ease pressure on health boards and drive down A&E waits by offering alternatives to hospital, such as care at home and directing people to more appropriate urgent care settings.

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