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13 October 2015, 15:05
Performance against a key accident and emergency (A&E) waiting target has fallen to a new low at Scotland's flagship hospital.
The £842 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow has dropped well below the Scottish Government's interim target of 95% of people being dealt with in four hours, according to the latest weekly figures.
In the week ending October 4, 77.2% of people were seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within that time, the worst performing site in Scotland.
A total of 386 patients waited for longer than four hours, with 29 of these in A&E for more than eight hours.
It is the poorest the hospital has performed against the target since it opened in May.
Hospital director Anne Harkness said the figures were "disappointing'' and apologised to patients who faced long waits to be admitted.
In June the Scottish Government announced a team of experts would be sent in to help staff improve A&E waiting times at the site.
Performance rose markedly as a result, with the hospital hitting a rate of more than 90% since the end of July.
Ms Harkness said: "Our emergency department (ED) and immediate assessment unit (IAU) were both extremely busy last week and we apologise to those patients who had a long wait to be admitted.
"After a number of weeks where the A&E performance at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital had shown a sustained improvement, these latest A&E figures are particularly disappointing.
"Our analysis for this most recent performance has shown that the new model of care within our immediate assessment unit (IAU) has been seeing significantly more patients than was projected. Elsewhere patients are also spending longer in hospital than we had anticipated.
"We are fully committed to tackling these issues and are putting in place a number of immediate steps to improve the situation.
"Our staff are working hard to ensure patients attending the emergency department are admitted to a bed or discharged within four hours.
"We are confident that these measures will see us return to an improved performance.''
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "It is clear that improvements are needed at QEUH to further increase capacity and drive down waiting times - patients should expect nothing less.
"The opening of the QEUH involved moving three existing hospitals on to one site and was one of the biggest and most complex of its kind in Europe.
"I have spoken directly with the chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and have received assurances from the health board that immediate action is being taken to create more capacity in the immediate assessment unit in order to improve the flow of patients, as well as working with staff to streamline clinical processes to support early discharge.
"While the new hospital campus has greater capacity than the three it replaced, it is right that the health board has recognised that demand at the QEUH has been higher than their planned operating model.
"It is crucial that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde make early adjustments to this service and Scottish Government officials will be keeping in close contact with the health board as they roll out the measures announced today.''
The figures show that across Scotland, 94% of patients were seen within four hours, down from 95% the week before.
A total of 109 people had to wait eight hours or more to be treated while no patients waited 12 hours or more.