Revised NHS recovery plan is urgently needed

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West Scotland MSP Katy Clark has expressed her dismay at news that the public has been told to avoid NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s A&E departments unless it’s urgent.

Last week NHS Ayrshire & Arran chiefs advised that emergency departments were under ‘extreme pressure’ and members of the public should ‘stop and consider if their condition could be managed through other pathways of care’.

The advice came after the latest waiting time statistics showed just 74.4 per cent of people at A&E in the NHS Ayrshire & Arran area were seen within four hours in the week ending October 17.

This means the region has now not reached the legally binding target of 95 per cent since July 2020.

Ms Clark commented: ‘It is shocking that we have reached the point where the people of Ayrshire and Arran are being placed in danger because the NHS is so overwhelmed.

‘None of this is the fault of workers, who do all they can to provide a public service.

‘The pandemic has caused huge strain, but the Scottish Government has been urged for months now to come forward with strategy that will support A&E services.

‘We urgently need a revised NHS recovery plan and workforce management plan as we enter the busy winter period.’

Professor Hazel Borland, interim chief executive at NHS Ayrshire & Arran said in a statement: ‘While most patients coming through our Emergency Departments (EDs) are ill and need to be there, we know that some people who attend our EDs would receive more appropriate and quicker treatment elsewhere.

‘So, we are urging members of the public to stop, think, and ask ‘Is it an emergency?’ If it is an emergency, come straight to the Emergency Department.

‘That way we can ensure that our EDs are there for those who need it most – those with life-threatening emergencies and injuries.’

Meanwhile, cancer detection figures released last week show a 20 per cent drop in patients diagnosed at an early stage of cancer in 2019 and 2020 combined, compared with numbers from 2010 and 2011, by NHS Ayrshire & Arran.