Doctors warned that crippling pressures on the health service could result in “the end of the NHS as we know it” after long waiting times for care saw some patients spend more than 30 hours waiting for treatment.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is facing increasing calls to quit after it emerged that nearly 2,000 people in Scotland spent 12 hours or more waiting on accidents and emergencies in the week before Christmas.
The data reveals that in the week ending Sunday, December 25, only 56.9% of patients in the ER were seen and then admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, nearly 40% less than the targets of the study. scottish government.
A woman, Jessie Wallace, 92, was left in a trolley for 30 hours in scenes her daughter Lynn Harrison described as “like a war zone”, after being rushed to hospital in Edinburgh with an infection in her chest.
A senior doctor told STV News the situation across the UK was similar in the context of strike threats by doctors, nurses and other medical and non-medical staff.
Dr Dan Beckett, an acute medicine consultant physician, said the service was almost at a point of no return and pleaded with the Scottish and UK government to urgently commit resources to help ease the pressures or risk needless deaths.
“It feels like we are almost in an existential crisis now in intensive care and at a tipping point where unless there is real action this feels like the beginning of the end for the NHS as we know it,” he said.
“I have been a consultant for 12 years and my colleagues in Scotland and the UK have never seen anything like this before and I think it is a real call that we need to take some action, otherwise we are going to lose something that is incredibly valuable to us as a nation. ”.
Figures from Public Health Scotland (PHS) show that in the week before Christmas Day, emergency departments saw 22,892 patients.
Of these, 9,862 waited longer than the target time of four hours, with 4,156 patients in the ER for eight hours or more.
A total of 1,925 patients waited a minimum of 12 hours, up from 1,821 the week before.
PHS said the data would be an undercount as data was missing for NHS Ayrshire and Arran and the NHS Borders.
Scottish Conservatives called the figures “appalling” when urging Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon to sack Yousaf, while Scottish Labor said it was “clear that Humza Yousaf must go, and go now.”
Scottish Labor health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Thousands of Scots have waited for hours on end for medical treatment while putting lives on the line.
“The time for warm words has come and gone. This crisis occurred under the supervision of Humza Yousaf and NHS staff do not trust him to be the person capable of taking action and getting them out of this crisis.”
Dr Sandesh Gulhane, Tory health spokesman, added: “Despite the Herculean efforts of front-line staff, wait times in our emergency departments are unacceptable due to years of terrible workforce planning by of the successive secretaries of health of the SNP, as well as the weak recovery plan of the current one.
“We cannot tolerate a situation where almost 2,000 patients wait more than half a day to be seen, because we know that these delays lead to unnecessary loss of life.”
The Scottish government has been contacted for comment.