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18 August 2015, 16:06
The proportion of patients being treated within the target time in accident-and-emergency units has fallen below the Scottish Government's benchmark.
New figures show that in the week ending August 9, 94.5% of cases were dealt with in four hours or less - down from 95.6% in the previous week.
It brings to an end a run of four consecutive weeks where the Scottish Government's interim target of having 95% of patients in A&E admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours was achieved.
However, the latest figure is up 8.4% since weekly reporting began in February.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said a slight dip in figures is common in August with ``new junior doctors coming on board'' but the Liberal Democrats said the government was trying to ``pass the blame for their failures''.
Ms Robison said: ``As we have seen previously, weekly A&E performance will fluctuate, however it is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that today's figures are 8.4% higher than when weekly reporting began in February.
``Historically, we tend to see a slight dip in performance at the start of August with new junior doctors coming on board.
``However, it is promising to see that performance this week is 1.8% higher than the same week of 2014 when performance was at 92.7%.
``We are working closely with health boards to reduce any dip in performance during the annual junior doctor changeover period and have been clear with boards that they should have plans in place to ensure safe and effective services during this time.
``As is reflected in performance figures, health boards are continuing to progress with our six essential actions which aim to minimise long waits in A&E and assessment units by improving patient flow throughout all areas of the hospital and community.
``Our focus now is to maintain this improving trend in performance going forward - particularly as we head towards winter.''
Lib Dem health spokesman Jim Hume said: ``This is an appalling attempt by the SNP government to pass the blame for their failures.
``To say that the slip against A&E waiting times performance is the fault of junior doctors ignores the significant and wide-ranging problems faced by health boards due to a lack of resources.
``It fails to recognise the many years of hard work undertaken by junior doctors of all ages.
``The Health Secretary should stop throwing up dust and start coming up with a plan to tackle Scotland's A&E crisis.''