NHS Lothian coping well with increased pressure on accident and emergency departments

Despite this increased pressure, NHS Lothian is continuing to hit a key Scottish government target on minimising waits for accident and emergency treatment.

New figures published today (Tuesday, 29th April, 2008) by ISD Scotland show that there were 209,514 "attendances" at accident and emergency departments at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and St John's in Livingston in 2007, compared to 183,639 attendances in 2004.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is home to Scotland's biggest accident and emergency department, and sees around 9,000 patients a month. This is busier than Scotland's second busiest A and E, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, by over a third.

Staff at RIE have been achieving the target 98% success in treating people within four hours of their arrival, according to the latest internal monitoring figures.

The ISD Scotland data also shows that Scotland's ageing population is leading to an increase in the number of emergency admissions to hospital in general.

Dr Charles Swainson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian said:

"These figures illustrate the hard work by staff to continue to meet expected targets and deliver swift care for our patients despite the most intense pressure and thanks are due to them for these considerable achievements.
"Last year we made some changes to these departments to better support staff and it is good to see that the hard work of staff in suggesting and supporting changes are clearly paying off for patients despite the most intense pressure.

He added:

"Colleagues in primary care and public health at NHS Lothian are also working hard on addressing the root causes of rising emergency admissions through providing increased health advice and support to older people. This would hopefully prevent or delay the necessity for people to seek emergency hospital treatment in future."