Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has raised concerns after figures released by NHS Tayside that show that the number of patients transferred from the A & E unit at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) to other hospitals has almost doubled in nine years.
The politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, was reacting to statistics provided to the Scottish Conservatives in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request that reveal the figure for people attending PRI and then being subsequently transferred to other hospitals increased from 645 in 2010 to 1,125 (from January to October 2019).
Mr Fraser fears these figures tie in with what many irate PRI patients have been telling him – that there is a shortage of specialist staff at the hospital, which is why people are being transferred to the likes of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Of the figures relating to the number of patients who attended the A & E unit at PRI to other hospitals, the largest increase centred on the amount transferred to another NHS healthcare provider, in other words another hospital, which in most cases would suggest Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
This figure rose from 571 in 2010 to 1,028 in the period from January to October 2019. The FoI data also revealed that the number of patients transferred from PRI’s A & E unit to other NHS psychiatric hospitals rose from 55 to 90 in the same period.
Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “These figures tie in with what a lot of my constituents have told me - that PRI doesn’t have enough specialist doctors so many patients who attend their A & E unit end up going to the likes of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
“Looking at the data provided by NHS Tayside, there has been a reduction in the number of patients who arrived at the A & E unit at PRI, either by ‘walk-in,’ ambulance or public transport – a total of 25,193 in 2010 falling to 22,433 in the period from January to October in 2019.
“However, what I do find really concerning is that the number of patients who visited PRI’s A & E unit who were then subsequently transferred to other hospitals, which in most cases, would be Ninewells Hospital, almost doubled in nine years.
“This information confirms what my suspicions have been for a while – that there are not sufficient specialist medical staff at PRI so when many patients arrive at the A & E unit they often end up having to be taken to Ninewells Hospital. It also suggests that there has been a downgrading of services at PRI, an issue I have raised before on numerous occasions.”