Date lodged: 29 March 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to recent ISD Scotland figures, which recorded 62.7% of people waiting at A&E at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh being seen within four hours, and when it expects the hospital to reach the 95% target.
Answered by: Shona Robison 10 May 2018
Apologies for the delay in responding. I have responded to all seven questions within this response.
The Scottish Government recognises that performance against the four hour A&E target at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is unacceptable - long delays are not acceptable when not clinically justified. In addition to winter pressures over the last few months, the hospital has and continues to experience unacceptable levels of delayed discharges, which significantly impacts on performance. NHS Lothian has the highest rate of delayed discharges of any mainland health board in Scotland, with Edinburgh City alone having one of the highest rates.
I have made clear to the Board and Integration Authorities that action needs to be taking to avoid on-going delays for patients anywhere in the health system and we are liaising with the Board and partnerships on a regular basis to address this. The Partnership has also recently appointed a new Chief Officer and Deputy so I expect to see improvements soon.
To support improved waiting times for patients attending A&E the health board is putting in place a number of actions, including the redesign of the A&E department to develop a GP assessment unit and ambulatory care unit – the Board will also introduce an observation area for patients expected to stay no longer than eight hours. We will monitor progress against these actions very closely.
As you know, Professor Derek Bell has been carrying out a review of NHS Lothian's A&E departments on behalf of the Academy of Royal Colleges, this followed concerns around the misreporting of A&E statistics at St John's Hospital at the end of last year. Professor Bell has now completed his review and will now present his findings to NHS Lothian. Scottish Government will work closely with the Academy and NHS Lothian to prepare an action plan in response to the review. The review and the agreed action plan will be published in due course. There will be a robust implementation plan put in place, which will be supported by the Scottish Government and the review team, to ensure waiting times performance in the A&E departments improves on a sustainable basis. In terms of additional resources, including funding, this will be determined once the action plan has been agreed.