Public cautious to return to A&E as attendance records broke a 5 year low and dropped 60% during the height of the pandemic

A&E attendance is yet to rally to pre-lockdown figures with a five year low broken and NHS Grampian urging people to use their local health service if required.

  • Scotland saw a drop in A&E attendance by a third in a single week during the pandemic.
  • A&E Grampian received just 928 patients five days after lockdown began.
  • At its lowest Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital received 103 patients when usually attendance is in the 300s.
  • Latest data for June shows attendance levels are still low.

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The Grampian region saw the biggest drop in A&E attendance the week before lockdown was implemented with levels of those going to A&E plummeting 30 per cent in the seven days between the 15th and 22nd of March.

Latest figures show attendance at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital is still down 30 per cent on pre-covid figures

During the first week of lockdown A&E figures in Grampian fell to the lowest they would drop during the pandemic – a paltry 928 attendances were recorded on March 29th with regular A&E attendance usually hovering around the two thousand mark.

The period between 15th and 22nd of March broke the record for lowest attendance figures in the Grampian region over the last five years beating the previous low of 1,532 people going to A&E between the 20th and 27th of December 2015.

Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital saw its lowest figures on the week of April the 5th when 103 children were admitted to its A&E department – usually numbers sit within the 300s.

The biggest rise in A&E attendance so far has come between the 14th and 28th of June when attendance in the Grampian region shot up 45 per cent from 1,221 to 1,776.

A freedom of information request made by The Reporter shows that across Scotland attendance fell by 50 per cent between February and April and 56 per cent in the same period across the Grampian region.

April – which was the lowest month for attendance during the pandemic – saw a fall of 45 per cent across Scotland and 51 per cent across Grampian compared to April 2019 figures.

In Scotland total attendance levels jumped by 23,000 in May, but that increase is slowing in June and July.

Confidence in returning to the NHS is sill low with total attendance figures for June 2020 down 41 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Attendance figures for the month of June 2020 were 82,332 compared to 141,181 in June 2019.

A&E attendance levels were at their lowest in the month of April during the pandemic

NHS Grampian has released a statement encouraging people to use health services if they require medical attention.

The statement read: “We understand that sick or injured people may be avoiding coming to hospital, perhaps because they worry about burdening NHS services or being exposed to Covid-19, but NHS Grampian is working hard to ensure our health service continues to function while keeping everyone as safe as possible. If you or a loved one needs medical attention, please don’t hesitate.”

A&E weekly attendances between Feb 2015 and July 2020

Figures on A&E attendance in the Grampian region are collated from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Gray’s Hospital and Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital by Public Health Scotland.

Scotland entered phase three of its four phase plan out of lockdown on 10th July.

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