The number of patients waiting in Scotland’s A&E departments for more than four hours has risen by more than 35% in a year, according to the latest health statistics.
Almost 3,000 people waited more than 12 hours for treatment last year, up 60% from 2017, while 14,509 patients had to wait at least eight hours before being seen.
The figures revealed that 36,799 patients visiting A&E wards run by NHS Lothian were waiting longer than the four-hour target, an increase of 144.7%.
The number of patients waiting more than eight hours in the region almost doubled, while more than 1,000 people were not treated within 12 hours.
NHS Fife was the only health board to record a fall in patients waiting more than four hours.
Nationally, 143,038 people were waiting more than four hours, an increase of more than 37,000 on a year earlier.
A&E attendance in Scotland increased by 1.4% during 2018, but Scottish Labour’s shadow health secretary Monica Lennon said the Government’s management of the NHS “simply isn’t good enough”.
Ms Lennon said: “Scottish Labour has been concerned about the pressures on our NHS for some time and these staggering figures expose the scale of the challenge health staff face in delivering patient care and how badly they have been let down by years of SNP mismanagement of our NHS.
“A&E is the front door of the hospital, and the pulse check of our NHS as a whole. Increasing numbers of people waiting too long at A&E reveals unacceptable pressure in other parts of our health service such as in social care and primary care.
“We already know that 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 and then do not deliver the support and resources needed. It simply isn’t good enough.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I want to thank all the health and social care staff who worked with dedication and commitment over the festive period.
“Scotland’s core A&Es have now been the best performing in the UK for more than three and a half years, and the latest weekly figures, published today, show that almost nine out of ten people were seen and treated within four hours.
“This is testament to the hard work and dedication of our NHS staff, and comes despite the fact that core attendances to A&E departments in the year to November 2018 were the highest in any equivalent period since 2011.
“Where performance is falling short of our expectations we continue to support health boards to improve their performance.
“This winter the Scottish Government has invested an additional £10 million to help services prepare for winter. This was on top of £9 million already allocated to support unscheduled care all year round.”