Health service managers have apologised for patients who have experienced lengthy waits at local hospitals because of ‘winter pressures’.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says that flu, respiratory infections and norovirus have caused hospitals across the area to be ‘extremely busy’.
But MSP Jackie Baillie says new figures show that over 7,500 patients waited for more than four hours at the A&E department in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, meaning there has to be more investment north of the Clyde.
A&E performance for the week between Christmas and New Year was revealed to be 65.6% – meaning one in three local patients at the RAH waiting more than four hours at A&E.
Ms Baillie said there had to be more services at the Vale of Leven hospital and a new A&E service north of the River Clyde.
“The RAH in Paisley had the third longest waits for A&E in the whole country over the festive period,” she said
“Our doctors, nurses and NHS staff in Paisley are doing the best they can but they don’t have the resources to cope with the demand from patients in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond.”
A spokesperson for the health board said that during 2017, more than 58,000 people were seen, diagnosed, treated and either admitted or discharged within four hours at the RAH, while attendance at the hospital last momnth were nearly 8% higher than the previous year.
“We planned for these winter pressures by creating extra capacity – such as extra inpatient beds at Gartnavel General Hospital,” she said.
“Our winter plan is designed to create extra resilience and enable us to respond to these additional pressures and open additional in-patient beds where appropriate.
“These winter beds are currently being used as part of our response to the winter pressures we are experiencing.”
She added: “At this busy time we are reminding people to use their emergency services appropriately – for example go to our minor injury units and use the expertise of pharmacists where possible and only to use emergency departments for serious injuries and major emergencies.
“Our Minor Injuries Units at West Glasgow, Stobhill and the Vale of Leven Hospitals are the best place for the rapid treatment of minor injuries, including sprains and cuts and broken bones. For minor ailments, patients can self care or go to their pharmacy.
“Our staff are working very hard to ensure patients attending all our hospitals are treated as quickly as possible.”