High demand at Wishaw cause of delays

Wishaw General Hospital
Wishaw General Hospital

Wishaw General was the worst for waiting times of all Scottish accident and emergency departments for the week ending January 24.

Figures issued show that that week 1180 people attended at Wishaw’s A&E Department.

Of these, only 86.8 per cent were seen within the Scottish Government’s target of four hours - for Lanarkshire as a whole that was 91.7 per cent, and nationally in Scotland 93.8 per cent.

In Wishaw 186 people waited over four hours, 21 people waited over eight hours, and two had to wait over 12 hours.

However, overall there was good news. During the month of December 94.9 per cent of patients were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours from Scotland’s A&E departments.

This is five points higher than December 2014 and the best performance in December since 2009.

Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomed the national figures: “We know that the winter months bring additional demands across the whole health and social care services,” she said. “We have seen that demonstrated over recent weeks, but we have also seen a consistent improvement on last year.

“There is still clearly more work to be done to build on and retain performance across the whole country.”

However, Wishaw General defended its performance in that January week.

Gillian Corbett, chief of nursing services at the hospital, said: “Performance can vary on a daily basis depending on the number of people who attend our emergency department and the severity of their condition.

“On Sunday 24 January we had a higher number of very urgent and immediate resuscitation patients than usual.

“These are very ill patients who must be treated as a clinical priority and this can have an impact on the waiting time for people with more routine conditions.

“We would like to apologise to those people who waited longer than we would like.”

ENDS

In the meantime, there have been more localised waiting time problems with one patient finding herself going BACKWARDS on Monday morning when in a telephone queue for an appointment with The Lanark Doctors surgery.

Speaking on his un-named constituent’s behalf, SLC Independent Councillor Ed Archer said: “I’m afraid what happened to her tells me that the new phone-on-the-day appointments system at the surgery just isn’t working.

“She first phoned at 7.57 am and got no reply; the same thing happened at 7.59 am. When she phoned at 8am on the dot, when the line was officially `open’ to seek appointments, the message machine told her she was ALREADY the 33rd patient in the queue!

“She phoned back a few minutes later to find she had moved up to 27th place but a few minutes later called again - and somehow had gone BACK to 29th place!

“She eventually just gave up trying to get an appointment that day and said she would try again the next morning.

“I know NHS staff everywhere, including at The Lanark Doctors, are working their backsides off to give the public a good service but this kind of thing just leads to patient frustration.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with the treatment you get when you get an apointment at The Lanark Doctors - it’s getting the appointment in the first place that’s the problem! I know this because I’m registrered with them as a patient myself.

He said that he had already written to NHS Lanarkshire seeking an explantion and the health authority told the Gazette this week it was looking into the matter.

Councillor Arcgher said he was due to have a face-to-face meeting with the surgery management next week when he would raise this and other matters of concern.