South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has branded waiting time figures for Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary (DGRI) as “shocking”, after statistics revealed the hospital’s compliance with the four-hour waiting time standard was 83.2 per cent in December 2019, the worst it has been in over 10 years.

For the same period in 2009, the figure was 93.8 per cent.

Since 2007, the national standard for A&E is that 95 per cent of patients wait no longer than four hours from arrival to admissions, discharge or transfer for A&E treatment.

Looking at the health board overall, NHS Dumfries and Galloway didn’t meet the 95 per cent target once in 2019. In fact, it has not met the target since November 2018 and has only met it a total of three times in the past three years.

The monthly figures were released by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division at the start of February.

South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “These figures are really shocking. The national standards state that 95 per cent of A&E patients wait no more than four hours from arrival to either admission, discharge or transfer for treatment.

“However, at DGRI, this figure has slumped to its worst level in over 10 years. It is clear that the chronic underfunding of our NHS is having an impact on patient care.

“This SNP Scottish Government cannot expect waiting time targets to be met if they do not provide the funding required to meet those targets.

“With an aging population and the rise in long-term health problems associated with this, the Scottish Government need to wake up to the crisis in A&E departments and take immediate action. Their complacency must end by investing in our NHS to cope with increasing demand and support our frontline NHS staff who go above and beyond for patient care.

“Ultimately, it is these hard working and dedicated people, to say nothing of the patients themselves, who are suffering.”

According to Audit Scotland, the number of people aged 75 and over will rise by 60 per cent between 2004 and 2031. By the age of 65, nearly two-thirds of people will have developed a long-term condition.

People with long term conditions are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital and will stay in hospital disproportionately longer, and account for over 60 per cent of hospital bed days used.

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