Medical association chief warns healthcare system under enormous pressure as hospitals across Lanarkshire struggle

A medical association has warned the healthcare system is under enormous pressure as Covid impacts emergency care.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine says staff have not had a festive break due to the usual winter wave as well as Covid.

The warning comes the same week that NHS Lanarkshire called on families who have loved ones in hospital to bring them home if they no longer receive treatment.

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The health council launched the appeal because its hospitals are “exceptionally busy” treating patients infected with Covid-19.

Dr John Thomson, Vice-President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said: “The reality on the ground is that many boards are under enormous pressure as there has been a significant increase in staff absences in due to the outbreak of Covid. Staff self-isolate with a positive test or because of contact with someone who has tested positive.

“The emergency services were overwhelmed before the new variant. But current winter pressures and widespread staff absences mean that staff are increasingly strained with every shift, affecting the quality of care provided and the patient and staff experience.

“For many staff, there has been no holiday break, and they have had no rest or respite, but continue to work tirelessly in the emergency services.

“The pressures are increasing again on the health service. It is imperative that we are able to continue to provide vital patient care. But the wave of Covid across Scotland is affecting all parts of the system, not just emergency care.

“This is a deeply worrying situation, and what concerns us most is the functionality of the health care system and our ability to continue to provide emergency care to those in need. “

Across Scotland, more than one in four patients have been delayed by four hours or more; 5,697 patients were delayed for eight hours or more, or 5.5 percent of all visits.

A total of 1,729 patients were delayed for 12 hours or more.

In Lanarkshire, only 72.5% were seen in the four hour goal during the month of November.

According to statistics, nearly 10 percent of the 5,696 A&E participants at Wishaw University Hospital waited more than eight hours to be seen.

That number fell to just 2.97% at Hairmyres and 2.91% at Monklands.

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