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Long Waits Persist in Scotland's A&E Departments

Less than three in four people attending A&E in Scotland during July were seen within 4 hours, figures show.

Public Health Scotland published statistics on Tuesday showing 72.7% of those who went to emergency departments during the month were seen within the target time, compared to 72.6% in June.

Despite being well shy of the 95% Government target, the figure has improved markedly since its lowest level of 62.1% in December. 

The number of people waiting longer than 4 hours dropped to 35,208 from 37,596 the previous month.

Meanwhile, the amount waiting for more than 8 hours fell from 9,694 to 8,317 and those who spent more than 12 hours in hospital dropped from 3,035 to 2,672.

Figures were also released for the week up to 27 August, showing a slight increase in the number of people seen within the target time, improving from 67.9% to 69.4%. Of those, 8239 waited more than 4 hours, 8317 had a wait of more than 8 hours and 2672 waited more than 12 hours.

Scottish Government Promises "Sustained Improvement"

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "We are encouraged by the latest figures which show A&E performance continuing to move in the right direction. We are determined to see sustained improvement in Emergency Department performance.

"We welcome the significant reduction in the number of patients experiencing long waits, with 12-hour waits down by 12% in July compared to the previous month – the fourth consecutive month where we have seen a reduction in long waits.

"We know performance is still not where it needs to be and there is continued disparity in performance both between health boards and individual sites. We continue to work closely with the health boards facing the greatest challenges in A&E to drive down waiting times and improve services for patients and staff."

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the figures for the week up to 27 August were "unacceptable", adding: "These figures are a shameful reflection of the SNP's continued mismanagement of our NHS. It's the height of summer, yet the SNP have continuously failed to get a grip on this crisis. For patients and my dedicated frontline colleagues, the prospect of winter is terrifying.

"Dire workforce planning by a succession of SNP health secretaries lies at the root of this problem and tragically patients are needlessly dying as a result."

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