Lothian MSP Miles Briggs has warned that without immediate support NHS Lothian are in for an extremely tough winter.
This week Public Health Scotland figures revealed that A&E waiting times were lengthening and delayed discharge was back to pre-pandemic levels. In the last two week, waiting times for A&E in NHS Lothian were 74% for the week ending August 29th and 71.7% for the week ending August 22nd. The number of days that patients who have been delayed from leaving hospital because of no appropriate place to go to has risen to 7,829 for July 2021, the latest month statistics are available for. This is an increase of 2,004 from 5,825 delays throughout June and triple the number of bed days occupied from delayed discharge at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when 2,531 delays occurred.
On top of mounting pressure for NHS Lothian health professionals, the Royal College of Nurses announced yesterday that NHS Lothian has 750 nursing and midwifery posts are vacant, which is 6.9% of posts. Out of the 39% of members who have told Royal College of Nurses they are thinking of leaving the nursing profession, 73% of respondents said “improved pay” and 49% said “better staffing levels” would make them feel more valued.
Winter traditionally brings increased pressure on NHS services and with the workforce understaffed and overworked, immediate Scottish Government support is required to keep going.
Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said: “NHS Lothian staff work incredibly hard to care for everyone who comes through their door, but the current position is unsustainable. Health professionals have been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and they must be properly resourced to get through another tough winter. Almost 5,000 people attended A&E in the last week of August, which is one of the busiest weeks on record for NHS Lothian. Delayed discharge has been rising for the last few months and is now at similar levels to before Covid-19. SNP Ministers must provide immediate financial and staffing support to NHS Lothian to get them through this winter.”