A&E figures are beginning to rise to ‘normal levels’ following lockdown

Jeremy Balfour, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for Lothian, says that A&E attendances at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh are beginning to return towards ‘normal levels’ as lockdown measures continue to ease.

The latest attendance figures were revealed by ISD Scotland, highlighting that the numbers attending A&E departments in the region were on the increase up to the end of May.

Mr Balfour says this is welcome, since attendances hit worryingly low levels around the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic at the end of March and beginning of April.

He explains that A&E departments cannot be allowed to be overwhelmed as we return to normality, and continues to stress to constituents that the NHS is there to be used at times of emergency.

He has called on The Scottish Government to ensure proper resources and plans are in place to support accident and emergency departments, who were already feeling overwhelmed prior to Covid-19.

Mr Balfour said: “At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, attendances at accident and emergency departments were dropping to worryingly low levels.

“There was clearly a perception among people that they should not have been overwhelming the NHS at that time, even if they were in an emergency situation.

“Thankfully that situation does seem to have improved in recent weeks, though we still see a significant difference compared to attendances at this time last year.

“The NHS is always open for everyone, especially if you are experiencing emergency symptoms.

“We must ensure that we do not overwhelm our A&E departments as we continue to return to a sense of normality as they were already feeling like this prior to Covid-19.

“That is a damning indictment of the failure of the SNP Government to properly resource and protect our hard-working frontline staff and that must be looked at as a matter of urgency.

“Our health service staff must have their wellbeing protected by the SNP Government and I would hope as A&E attendances continue to increase in coming weeks, that will be a top priority for the Health Secretary and other SNP Ministers.”

NHS TrustHospital A&E 9 June 2019Lowest A&E figures during Covid-19A&E 31 May 2020
LothianRoyal Hospital for Sick Children927428 (12 April 2020)569
LothianRoyal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France2,5591,116 (29 March 2020)21,865
LothianSt John’s1,174506 (12 April 2020)879