Ambulance outside A&E department

The NHS in Scotland has met its accident and emergency waiting time target for the first time since July 2016.

New figures indicate 95.3% of patients were dealt with in under four hours, meeting the target of 95%.

The official statistics from the Information Services Division (ISD) cover the week ending 11 June.

But figures for joint, bone and muscle problems showed only 55% patients were seen by a specialist within four weeks.

The Scottish government target is for 90% of these patients using musculoskeletal (MSK) services to be seen within that time.

Health Secretary Shona Robison has welcomed the A&E figures.

She said: “We have seen a steady reduction in average waits over the last few weeks, and it is encouraging that these weekly statistics show performance above the four-hour standard.

“However, we know that performance fluctuates from week to week, and the challenge now is to ensure that we maintain this target on a consistent basis.”

‘More to do’

During the same period last year, ISD figures showed that A&E departments were falling short of the waiting time target, with 94.7% of patients being seen, admitted or discharged in under four hours.

Ms Robison said the government was committed to improving MSK services.

She added: “That’s why we set this new and ambitious waiting time target and why we’re investing £3m in our Active and Independent Living Programme to drive improvements across the country and enable people to live well and as independently as possible in their homes and communities.

“While currently the majority of patients are seen within four weeks and over two thirds of patients are seen within eight weeks, we accept there is still much more to do to bring waiting times down further.”

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