Staff shortages and bed blocking lead to 'worst ever A&E waits at Glasgow hospital'

'Staff shortages and bed blocking lead to worst ever A&E waits at Glasgow hospital'
'Staff shortages and bed blocking lead to worst ever A&E waits at Glasgow hospital'

Staff shortages and delayed discharge is leading to the worst ever waiting times for accident and emergency at a Glasgow hospital, according to health bosses.

More than 1000 people waited for more than four hours to be treated at a Glasgow A&E over one week this month.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital recorded the worst waiting time performance, with only 35% of patients being taken within the four-hour standard.

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The figures for the week ending November 20 showed 1179 waited more than four hours.

Within that figure, 463 people waited eight hours and 111 had a wait of more than 12 hours.

The hospital had 1817 attendances at the A&E department in the week

The four-hour figure is believed to be the worst ever since waiting times at A&E records began.

The best the hospital recorded this year was 68.3% dealt with within four hours, for one week in January.

Across Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospitals the four-hour figure was 57.3%

The Royal Infirmary recorded 56.6% seen within four hours.

The overall Scottish figure was 63.1% seen within four hours.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde apologised to patients and said there were external factors and measures it was taking to reduce the waiting.

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, said: “We apologise to any patients who have had to wait longer for emergency care.

"As is the case in hospitals across the country, the QEUH is facing significant pressures and our staff are working extremely hard to continue to treat emergency patients at this very difficult time.

“While there are significant challenges at the front door with people self-presenting and being taken in by ambulance with complex health and care needs, there are whole system challenges throughout the hospital which compounds waiting times at A&E.

“Delayed discharges, for example, add to higher than normal occupancy levels within hospital, which adds to pressure on the front door as patients wait for available bed space within wards.

“Like all health boards, staffing challenges within hospitals and in the community impact the efficiency with which we’re able to deliver care and make beds available.”

The health board said it has an ongoing recruitment campaign and hundreds of nursing and medical staff have been taken on in the last three months.

The spokesperson added: “We are also implementing a national Discharge Without Delay initiative to improve discharge rates across sites.”

The health board said a virtual, video and telephone A&E service and treatment at Minor Injuries Units are treating more people.

People are being asked not to attend A&E unless it is “life-threatening”.

The spokesman added: “We continue to urge any patient who thinks they need emergency care, but it’s not life-threatening, to use alternatives to A&E such as local pharmacies, GPs, NHS Inform and the virtual A&E service, which is accessible through NHS24 on 111.

“These routes mean patients will be seen and treated faster than at A&E and helps ring-fence A&E for those with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.”