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More than 3,700 people waited too long at NHS Highland accident and emergency departments in 2018, new figures have revealed.
Data published by ISD Scotland reveals 3,600 people waited more than four hours in accident and emergency last year, with 194 waiting more than eight hours.
The figures represent a significant increase from 2017.
The number of patients waiting for longer than 12 hours has, however, decreased by 33 per cent in the last year.
Scottish Labour said the figures evidenced the stress the health service is under, with overworked staff facing crowded departments because of mismanagement elsewhere in the health service – such as staffing vacancies in social care and primary care.
David Stewart, Highlands and Islands Regional MSP and Shadow Minister for Health, said: ‘Patients and staff in NHS Highland deserve better than this. I have been concerned about the pressures on NHS Highland for some time and these figures expose the scale of the challenge NHS staff face in delivering patient care and how badly they have been let down by years of SNP mismanagement of our NHS.
‘Accident and emergency is the front door of the hospital and the pulse check of our NHS. Increasing numbers of people waiting too long at accident and emergency reveals unacceptable pressure in other parts of our health service such as in social care and primary care.
‘We already know staff do not feel they are getting enough support and that the level of unfilled health posts is unsustainable.
‘Ministers set the health service targets for staff to hit then do not deliver the support and resources needed. It isn’t good enough.’