Busy waiting room

Backlog impacting patient safety in Scotland as officials issue statement

Backlog is still affecting NHS trusts and patients up and down the entire UK and Scotland is no different.

The waiting times in the emergency departments at NHS Lanarkshire are now reaching more than 12 hours – waits this long signal major patient safety concerns and now top health officials up in Scotland have responded.

The director of acute services at NHS Lanarkshire, Judith Park, noted that the three acute hospitals under her supervision have been “working beyond full capacity for a number of weeks” and they were still facing enormous pressure, as well as capacity and workforce shortages.

Park went onto say that the situation at NHS Lanarkshire became “even bleaker” at the beginning of last week and that even after patients have waited 12 hours to be seen, due to the lack of beds and dearth of staff, they still struggle to admit more patients.

Judith Park, director of acute services at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “When we experience an exceptionally high rate of emergency admissions, we work as a clinical network to divert some patients to another NHS Lanarkshire hospital where it is clinically appropriately to do so. However, this hasn’t been possible due to the pressures being faced across all three sites.

“Given the current situation in our hospitals, this has become a patient safety issue. To help us alleviate these pressures and patient safety concerns across our system, we are asking the public to only attend ED if they have life-threatening conditions or require urgent care.

“We continue to prioritise those patients who require urgent care. However, the 12-hour wait is putting those patients who require urgent care at serious risk. The safety of our patients and all staff is our top priority and we are taking all necessary action to ensure safe and effective patient care at this time.”

The statement on patient safety concerns comes after NHS England published the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework detailing how they will develop, maintain, and improve the way in which patient safety emergencies are responded to throughout the NHS.

Click here for our coverage on the new framework.

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