THE number of people waiting more than 12 hours in NHS Ayrshire and Arran's accident and emergency wards has increased by more than 400 per cent in three years, according to official figures.

Scottish Government statistics published earlier this month showed that in the 12 months from November 1, 2021 until October 31, 2022, 8,038 people had to wait for more than 12 hours in an Ayrshire and Arran A&E department before being seen. 

That compares to a figure of 1,557 for the 12 months to October 31, 2019 - an increase of 416 per cent.

The same figures state that in the year to October 31, 2022, 67.6 per cent of people who arrived at A&E in the area waited more than four hours to be admitted, discharged or transferred.

That compares to a figure of 87.7 per cent for the year to October 2019 - and falls far short of the Scottish Government's national standard that 95 per cent of patients should have to wait no more than four hours.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colyn Smith said: "The facts are plain for all to see. Accident and emergency services locally have been plunged into a deadly freefall by the Scottish Government’s dangerous negligence.

“Despite the efforts of hardworking staff, the number of patients spending a shocking 12 hours waiting in A&E has soared this year.

"You just have to speak to anyone working flat out on A&E and they are exhausted - yet the Scottish Government isn’t giving them the resources they need.

“The SNP/Green Government’s mismanagement of our NHS is putting lives at risk.

"We urgently need a real plan to put a stop to this chaos and protect services in our local hospitals."

In September, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that waiting times across Scotland are better than those across the rest of UK.

The Scottish Goverment has been approached for comment.