THE percentage of people seen at Scotland's emergency departments within the target time has hit a new low, figures have revealed.

According to Public Health Scotland, 63.5% of attendances at A&E in Scotland in the week up to September 11 were seen within four hours.

The Scottish Government's target aims to ensure 95% of people are seen and subsequently admitted or discharged within four hours.

The figure dropped from 67.7% the previous week, and was worse than the previous low of 64.8%.

Of the 27,097 attendances during that week, a record number of people waited more than four hours at 9895.

Meanwhile, the number of people waiting more than eight hours was 3367 – a new high – while 1257 people waited longer than 12 hours.

Reacting to the news, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "Some of those figures that I’ve seen last week in particular sites are just not acceptable, not withstanding all of the pressures that we’re facing and I’m not going to defend that.

"But I want to give you an assurance that the Government is intently focused and I’m intently focused on getting an immediate improvement particular in our more challenging sites."

He went on: "And the reasons why we have this level of challenge of course are continued impacts and effects of the pandemic, and not just directly on health but clearly the impact it’s having on social care means our delayed discharged figures are far higher than we’d want to see at any time, let along at this time of the year, and that’s having a direct impact on our capacity at acute sites."

He added that he does not shirk away from his responsibility – but that this is not “just a Scottish problem”.

Yousaf said Scotland continues to outperform other parts of the UK on waiting times.

The minister added that the Government will continue to invest in social care to bring down the number of delayed discharges from hospitals.