Covid Scotland: Tories warn of ‘winter storm’ in Scottish emergency services

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The stern warning comes after figures last week showed the worst accident and emergency (A&E) performance on record across the country, with less than 65% of patients attending wards. emergency seen within four hours.

The Scottish Government’s target is 95% of patients seen within this timeframe.

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Analysis by the Tories suggests that A&E’s performance against the four-hour target is generally worse in the winter months than it is in the summer.

The Scottish Conservatives have issued a warning about Scotland’s healthcare system for this winter. Photo: John Devlin

On average, the party said, emergency service performance was down more than five percentage points from the summer.

That gap widened to nine points in 2017 and 2020, he said.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane has now suggested that the Scottish Government’s NHS recovery plan needs to be ‘urgently rewritten’ before the winter months arrive.

He said: “Patients across Scotland are already experiencing a summer of chaos with the longest waits ever for treatment in our NHS.

“Wait times at A&E hit a new record under Humza Yousaf’s watch last week, but the worst may yet be yet to come for ailing patients and heroic frontline staff.

“Each year we have seen that our hospitals perform better in the summer and worse in the winter.

“Waiting times are already at an all-time high and the number of patients waiting for treatment continues to rise.

“Ailing patients and staff who are beyond breaking point will likely face a winter storm later in the year.”

Dr Gulhane said the NHS recovery plan ‘doesn’t cut it’, and a new document should ‘support staff at every turn to improve standards, before the winter period arrives’.

The warning comes as new figures have revealed that more than 4% of triply vaccinated adults report having long Covid 12 to 16 weeks after contracting one of Omicron’s variants.

The result is just slightly lower than the 5% who experience long Covid in the same period after being infected with the Delta strain.

Daniel Ayoubkhani, from the Health and Life Events Analysis Division of the Office for National Statistics, said: These results may not apply to people who have already had Covid-19 and have been re-infected with the Omicron variant, and we cannot say what the implications are for all future variants in terms of long Covid risk.

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