Emergency Treatment (Waiting Times)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd September 2022.

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The First Minister:

No—that is clearly an unacceptable situation, but it is also an exceptional situation. I am more than willing to look into the particular circumstances around that.

I have been very clear that the current performance is not acceptable. I would not, and do not, shy away from saying that. I have also been very clear about the action that the Government is taking to support those on the front line, to ensure that there is much speedier access to accident and emergency and to healthcare services more generally.

I have also made the important contextual points, because that is part of giving people confidence that we are taking action to address the issue. The performance against the four-hour waiting time target is not good enough, but it is better than it is in counterpart parts of the United Kingdom. With regard to long waits, there are 50 times more 12-hour waits in England than there are in Scotland, and they are four times higher in Wales than they are in Scotland.

That does not mean that performance in Scotland is good enough, but Douglas Ross and others often come to the chamber and pretend or suggest that those issues are unique to Scotland. They are not unique to Scotland; they are pressures that all health services are facing. I am rightly setting out the action that we are taking to support the health service in tackling the pressures with regard to recruitment, investment and changing the pathways of care to ensure that people not only get speedier access but access to the right part of the health service at the right time. We are taking action across all those strands and will continue to do so.