As an MSP for the Glasgow Region and Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, I write with concern regarding the article published in The Scotsman yesterday which discloses allegations by a whistle-blower that patients who present at the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) are deliberately not included in Accident and Emergency Department waiting time statistics. The article estimates that 2,000 patients each month are being omitted from the QEUH’s waiting time statistics. Such patients are likely to include those with potentially serious and life-threatening illnesses.
The article highlights that waiting time statistics for the Western General Infirmary in Edinburgh do include patients presenting at their medical assessment unit. This, of course, raises grave concerns over a lack of consistency in the application of PHS guidance in the collection and processing of data across Scotland. If the allegations of the article are founded, the public is clearly not being informed of the true extent of A&E waiting times across the country. At best this may be considered as unprofessional collating of information, at worst
some may regard this as a deliberate action to corrupt the data.
These latest allegations follow earlier reports that statistics from NHS Tayside do not accurately reflect true waiting times as A&E patients are moved to trolleys elsewhere in the hospital under a ‘continuous flow’ policy – meaning they do not form part of A&E waiting time statistics.
I would be grateful if these matters could be investigated by the UK Statistics Authority and if appropriate, the necessary steps taken to ensure the accurate and consistent collection and reporting of data across Scotland.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP