An Ayrshire MSP has blasted latest A&E waiting time figures, saying that the health secretary is following in the footsteps of Humza Yousaf.

South Scotland representative, Sharon Dowey, said the latest figures were a "problem" and causing departments to struggle.

According to the latest figures, in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, 526 people waited longer than four hours for an appointment on the week ending 16 July 2023, with 253 people waiting longer than eight hours.

The Scottish Government had set a target that 95 per cent of people attending A&E should be seen, admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours.

In addition, it was revealed that 161 people waited longer than eight hours to be seen in the health board’s emergency departments.

Sharon Dowey has said that the SNP needs to publish a clear plan on reducing waiting times at A&E, and to ensure that things pick up before we hit the autumn and winter months.

Cumnock Chronicle: Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Sharon DoweyScottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Sharon Dowey (Image: MSP Sharon Dowey)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Sharon Dowey said: “With hundreds of people continuing to wait well beyond four hours to be seen at A&E in Ayrshire, it’s clear that the SNP have put this problem on the backburner.

“When Humza Yousaf was health secretary, my colleagues and I pushed him on A&E waiting times, week after week.

“Now, it looks like Michael Matheson is following in Humza’s footsteps, as waiting times remain stagnant and emergency departments struggle to see patients within the four hour target.

“We need a clear plan from the SNP on reducing waiting times in our emergency departments, which is backed the resources needed to implement it.

“Otherwise, we’ll be heading into the autumn and winter months where the situation will only continue to get worse – and it’ll be the patients who suffer as a result.”

Responding to these claims, health secretary Michael Matheson said that waiting times are not at the level the Scottish Government would like, but that latest figures were 'encouraging'.

He said: “While performance continues to fluctuate as we work towards recovery, I am encouraged by the latest monthly figures which show performance is moving in the right direction - with more with more than two thirds of patients being seen within four hours in June.

"June also saw a 20 per cent reduction in the number of people experiencing long waits of 12 hours. This is the third consecutive month in which we have seen a reduction in these long waits.

“We know performance is not where it needs to be and we are working closely with the health boards facing the greatest challenges in A&E, to drive down waiting times and improve services for patients and staff.

“Hospital bed occupancy continues to be a major factor impacting on performance which is why we are working to reduced instances of delayed discharge and are continuing to expand our Hospital at Home capacity.”

Cumnock Chronicle: Health Secretary Michael MathesonHealth Secretary Michael Matheson (Image: Health Secretary Michael Matheson)

Further to this, Joanne Edwards, director of acute services for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said that staff were working tirelessly to meet department demands.

The Ayrshire and Arran chief added: "We continue to experiencing high demand for services across the whole system – in our unscheduled care and primary care services, our acute hospital services, as well as in community and social care services.

"Due to demand across our whole health and care system, and despite our staff working hard to assess and treat patients as quickly as possible, some patients have waited significantly longer than we would wish and we unreservedly apologise for that.

"We are fully committed to ensure that those with emergency and urgent needs are treated as quickly as possible alongside those patients who have been waiting for the longest period."