Waiting times for West Dunbartonshire patients needing emergency treatment have rocketed to the worst in six years.

Figures recently released show that just 62.3 percent of patients at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) were seen within the Scottish Government’s four-hour target time.

It represents the worst recorded performance according to records dating back as far as February 2015.

Some 413 patients out of 1,096 who attended for emergency treatment at the facility, where most patients from West Dunbartonshire are sent, in the week up until October 3 waited more than four hours.

The guidelines call for 95 percent of emergency patients to be admitted, treated, transferred or discharged within the time frame.

“But figures have fallen dramatically as the NHS struggles to cope in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 143 patients waited more than eight hours, while 33 were still waiting after 12 hours. The Scottish average for the same week was 71.3 percent.

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie, who is also Scottish Labour’s health and Covid recovery spokesperson, slammed the stats saying: “A&E performance has hit yet another record low as the pressure in our NHS continues.

“It is becoming clear that we are on track for another winter catastrophe this year if we fail to act.

“The SNP need to listen to the warnings from staff on the frontline and get a grip on the growing emergency in our NHS before the cold weather really bites. There is no time to waste when this many lives are on the line.”

Health minister Humza Yousaf announced a £300million “multi-year” finance package last week, which is supposed to help the NHS restart services and shore them up for winter.

Cash will be made available to recruit 1000 additional NHS staff “to support multi-disciplinary working” and pledged £4.5m to health boards to recruit “at least” 200 nurses from outwith Scotland by next March.

Money is also being ploughed in to boost the pay of social care staff and to increase capacity of care at home services, but critics say it’s not fit for purpose.

Staff have also raised fears over shortages at the RAH’s maternity unit, claiming mums-to-be have faced waits of up to 12 hours.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said demand on emergency departments had added to the burden facing the health service.

He said: “Across Scotland, there is a significant demand on health services including emergency departments and receiving units which are seeing an increased number of patients with a broad range of conditions.

“This means our clinical staff are extremely busy caring for those additional patients as well as increasing numbers presenting with Covid – whilst at the same time maintaining enhanced infection control precautions for all.

“Our ED teams have been working extremely hard and for a considerable period have managed to see, diagnose and admit or discharge the majority of patients within the four-hour target.

“In recent weeks, however, as has been the case across Scotland, pressures on our services have been mounting due to increased Covid infection, rising emergency department attendances and additional staffing pressures.”

He thanked staff for their continuing commitment, adding: “We continue to prioritise emergency, trauma and cancer care alongside the increasing Covid admissions.

“We recognise the strain this has put on both staff and services and will support both as much as possible.

“We would urge everyone – in line with the national model of care, Right Care, Right Place – to remember that our partner GP surgeries across the board area are open, and continue to provide great care for their communities.

“ If patients have a concern or a condition for which they would normally contact your GP, please continue to do so. Outwith that please contact NHS24 on 111.

“Please do not go to a GP out-of-hours clinic without an appointment. Pharmacies can also advise on minor ailments, or simple healthcare advice.”

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