NHS Chief 'Sorry' Over A & E Waits

The head of NHS Scotland has apologised to patients who have waited too long in A&E departments this winter as special support was announced to help one hospital cope with demand.

Chief executive Paul Gray said the performance of Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital in meeting waiting time targets was not improving fast enough.

Concerns were raised last month when an advert was posted on Facebook looking for volunteers to help out in the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde hospital's A&E department.

Unscheduled care managers from the Scottish Government are now working with the hospital to raise its performance.

Mr Gray said: "This has been a challenging winter for A&E departments across Scotland. I want to apologise to patients who have waited longer than they should to be seen and treated.

"I recognise that all staff have been working extremely hard in our NHS to ensure patients get the best possible care.

"However, I'm concerned that performance is not recovering as quickly as it should at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and it is clear to me, through our performance monitoring and management, that the board needs support to help them ensure patients are seen and treated in A&E within the appropriate time-scale.

"Having discussed this with the board chief executive in line with our normal escalation procedures, I have today provided specialised support to work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to deal with the current level of demand, and an extended support team will be in place at the beginning of next week.

"This action will help identify issues where they exist and prioritise actions that can be taken to improve A&E performance. The Scottish Government will be working closely with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde throughout this process to ensure that performance improvements are sustainable.''

Robert Calderwood, chief executive of the health board, said: "There has been a lot of learning across Scotland in recent months about various different approaches to improving efficiency of patient flows in A&E's and I am hopeful that some of that learning may prove to be appropriate for the RAH to help our teams on the ground deliver improved performance in the weeks and months ahead.

"I would reiterate that The Board and our staff remain committed to meeting the highest levels of service provision for the patients we serve and every opportunity to improve on our current challenged performance is welcomed.''

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