The challenges facing Scotland’s NHS this winter

3 months 4 weeks ago #164757 by geemong
The challenges facing Scotland’s NHS this winter

There have been a series of warnings about the state of Scotland's NHS as the fallout from the Covid pandemic still grips the health service.

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Bosses and frontline staff are worried because pressures like longer A&E waiting times have come in the summer - ordinarily the quietest period of the year.

The health service often faces greater pressure in winter due to higher rates of "seasonal illnesses" like flu and norovirus, which means more people requiring care as well as more NHS staff missing work due to illness.

Experts are warning about the risk of a big and early wave of flu this winter, based on what Australia experienced during its colder months.

And Covid has never gone away, with the UK Health Security Agency suggesting the autumn wave of the virus is already under way and putting pressure on the NHS.

NHS Scotland's chief executive Caroline Lamb has warned the winter will be an "extremely challenging period". Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is to update MSPs on the extra measures being put in place - so what are the challenges?

A&E waiting times can be a barometer for the pressures facing the wider NHS and many emergency departments are operating well below the Scottish government's target of having 95% of patients discharged or admitted within four hours.

The latest Scotland-wide average shows 66.2% of patients were dealt with within the four-hour target.

However, the length of A&E waiting times often depends on where you live.

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