Nearly 19,000 people waited too long at NHS Lanarkshire’s accident and emergency departments in 2018, new figures have revealed.
Data published by ISD Scotland reveals that 18,908 people waited more than four hours at A&E last year, with 1916 waiting over eight hours and 434 waiting over 12 hours.
These figures represent an 8.7 per cent increase on 2017.
Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney believes the figures show the stress the NHS is under, with crowded A&E departments a result of mismanagement elsewhere in the health service.
He said: “Patients and staff in NHS Lanarkshire deserve better than this.
“I have been concerned about the pressures on NHS Lanarkshire for some time and these staggering figures expose the scale of the challenge NHS staff face in delivering patient care and how badly they have been let down by years of mismanagement of our NHS.
“A&E is the front door of the hospital, and the pulse check of our NHS as a whole. Increasing numbers of people waiting too long at A&E reveals unacceptable pressure in other parts of our health service such as in social care and primary care.
“We already know that staff do not feel they are getting enough support and that the level of unfilled health posts is unsustainable.
“Ministers set the health service targets for staff to hit and then do not deliver the support and resources needed. It simply isn’t good enough.”
NHS Lanarkshire is urging people to only attend A&E if they require urgent and immediately necessary treatment.
Frances Dodd, NHS Lanarkshire Acute Divisional Nurse director, said: “Our emergency department staff work hard to ensure patients who need urgent care are seen and treated as quickly as possible.
“For those who do not need urgent treatment, there is a range of health professionals and services readily available in the community including pharmacists, minor injuries nurses, dentists and optometrists.
“All of these health experts can provide advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries and illnesses right away, helping to avoid long waits in the emergency department.
“You can also get expert health and self-care advice without leaving home by visiting NHS inform.scot or by calling NHS 24 on 111 out-of-hours, when your GP practice or dentist is closed.”