Earlier this year, Business for Scotland analysed the performance of the various national health services across the UK. It was found that on a variety of measures Scotland’s NHS was, even under the pressures of healthcare austerity by the Westminster government, better funded, better resourced and more efficient.
New data on waiting times for October of this year has further reinforced this conclusion. In England, the number of patients seen within four hours at Type 1 A&E departments hit a record low of 74.5%, down from 77% in September. In Wales, 75.3% of patients were seen within four hours in A&E departments in October, unchanged from September. Scotland registered the best performance across September and October, with 87.8% of patients seen within four hours in September and 85.6% in October.
While the percentage of patients seen within four hours fell 2.2% in Scotland between September and October, the gap between Scotland and England actually widened. In September 10.8% more patients were seen in Scotland than in England, whereas in October the figure rose to 11.1.
These figures are more reassuring for Scotland as we enter into the winter months, where NHS staff are put under increased pressure due to winter illnesses and accidents. Due to better healthcare governance in Scotland, these statistics suggest the winter period is already being better managed in Scotland.
The NHS has been a central topic in the current election campaign. What these figures reinforce is that, for all the boasting and promises made by the Conservative party, the current UK Government are not reliable stewards on healthcare.