Doctor issues warning as 58,000 patients in Scotland wait more than 12 hours in A&E

A leading doctor has warned that Scotland’s NHS is in “permanent crisis” as “winter pressures are here 365 days a year”.


Dr. Iain Kennedy, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland has highlighted how the country is “sleepwalking” into sacrificing a free NHS, and warns that a two-tier healthcare system is “beyond question”.


Doctor issues warning


Dr. Kennedy is due to deliver his speech at the BMA’s 2024 annual representatives meeting (ARM) in Belfast today, where he will discuss how the Scottish government’s plans for NHS reform “lack clarity and urgency”.

According to media reports, Dr. Kennedy is expected to highlight how since the end of April, more than 58,000 patients have waited more than 12 hours in a Scottish A&E department –24 times greater than five years ago.

He will emphasise the “massive deterioration” and how the figures are a warning light that the whole health and social care system is “not coping with the demand”.


Dr. Kennedy added:

“Long waits are forcing those who can afford it, to go private. A two-tier health service in Scotland is now beyond question. If you can stump up the cash, then you can get the care you need.

“But we all value an NHS free at the point of use. Yet, Scotland is sleepwalking into sacrificing this principle, threatening the very existence of the national health service as we know it.”


Meanwhile, Public Health Scotland data shows that of the 27,190 people who attended A&E in the week ending June 9, only 67.6 per cent were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour target.

A total of 1,118 (4.1 per cent) patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E, compared to 1,203 (4.3 per cent) the previous week.


Dr Kennedy also calls for an urgent national conversation about the future of the NHS and urges a way to develop strategies to improve it:

 “While I welcome the Scottish Government’s plan for direct engagement with the public and stakeholders this year, it lacks both clarity and urgency.

“So, today, I urge the Scottish Government to come forward now with a detailed plan to guarantee an inclusive national conversation, along with a plan to implement what it tells us,” he said.


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