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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12866: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government when (a) it and (b) NHS Lothian was alerted to the recently reported problems regarding A&E waiting times figures at St John's Hospital, and what action was taken.

Answered by: Shona Robison 6 December 2017

The Scottish Government was first alerted to the allegations relating to the misreporting of A&E waiting times at St Johns Hospital, NHS Lothian, on 11 October 2017. NHS Lothian was alerted on the same date. The allegations included emergency department staff feeling pressure to achieve the four hour A&E target.

I immediately instructed NHS Lothian to investigate the concerns under the Board’s Whistleblowing Policy. This was underway within 48 hours of the emailed allegations being received. Findings from NHS Lothian's interim report conclude that there are areas of concern in relation to waiting times practices at St John’s hospital - these concerns remain following receipt of NHS Lothian's final report on Saturday 2 December.

On receipt of the interim report on 14 November, I asked the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Chair, Professor Derek Bell, to lead an independent review of these allegations and Lothian Health Board's internal review findings – this will report early in the New Year. NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government released a press statement on Friday 17 November regarding the allegations and findings; NHs Lothian issued another statement on 4 December.

It is now important to await the outcome of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Review to fully understand the implications of what the Board review means for four hour performance targets. The Scottish Government will publish its findings of the independent review in due course.