By Mya Bolan

TWO MSPs have hit out at the SNP government claiming hospital patients are facing the worst waiting times on record.

Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton MSP for Labour, and Maurice Golden, West Scotland MSP for the Scottish Conservatives, raised concerns after the latest figures show one in five patients were not treated within the SNP’s four hour waiting time target last December.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the statistics show 79.9 per cent of patients were treated within four hours, which is the worst on record since the government target is 95 per cent of patients to be seen within 4 hours.

Figures also reveal an increase in patient waiting time since September last year. The percentage of patients being treated within four hours has dropped 10 per cent since August.

Mr Golden also highlighted that almost 1,300 patients had to wait more than eight hours to be treated. During December, nearly 300 patients did not receive medical attention for twelve hours.

Mr Golden said it is time for the SNP to make health a top priority. He added: “It is clearly apparent now that this is a problem that is only getting worse as the months go on and our country’s largest health deserves better.

“If urgent action is not taken to support NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde then the situation for our patients and hardworking staff is only going to be of even greater concern.”

Ms Baillie added that, according to figures from Information Services Division (ISD), during the same time period, in West Dunbartonshire 488 bed days were spent in hospital by patients who were medically fit to leave – a 96 per cent rise on the same month in 2018, costing a total of £121,024.

In total, since Jeane Freeman became health secretary patients have spent 797,491 days stuck in hospital despite being medically fit to leave, of which 6,563 patients are in West Dunbartonshire.

Ms Baillie said: “Our NHS is now in a state of crisis after 13 years of mismanagement by the SNP, they have failed to listen to what overworked NHS staff, Trade Unions and patients have been telling them and this cannot be allowed to continue.

“I have raised delayed discharges in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute with SNP Ministers time and time again in the Scottish Parliament, to be met with promises to end it, but it’s a promise they’ve broken over and over again.

“People from West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute are being stuck in hospital for too long because the care they need isn’t in place. This is not only distressing for them and their families, it’s putting unnecessary strain on staff and our hospitals.

“We can’t continue to do social care on the cheap. Only investment will help end the social care crisis and improve the standard of health care on offer in Scotland. That’s why I am calling for a fair deal for local councils in this year’s budget, to put an end to the delayed discharge crisis that has cost our NHS hundreds of millions of pounds.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland’s core A&E departments continue to be the best performing in the UK – and have been for more than four and a half years, despite continued high attendance levels. In the last 12 months we saw more patients within four hours than in any other year since 2012.

She added: “Like the majority of health boards across the UK, aAn increase of winter illnesses is impacting on performance within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. This year NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has received over £2.6million to strengthen capacity and ensure quality of care, patient safety and access to services over the winter period. This includes a new Minor Injuries Unit, opened in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to alleviate immediate pressures in the A&E department, and an external team, made up of clinical and improvement staff to minimise the level of long delays.

“Additionally, Calum Campbell, Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire has been appointed as Turnaround Director with a specific remit to work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on its A&E waiting times performance, as part of its escalation to Stage 4 of the NHS Board Performance Framework.

“We are very clear that providing effective out-of-hours care to ensure non-emergency patients don’t need to go to A&E is integral to tackling waiting times – that’s why we continue to support the delivery and re-design of GP-led out-of-hours services in line with Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report.”