WAITING times in Scotland’s A&E departments in August were the worst on record, and are set to get even worse, according to new official figures.

Public Health Scotland reported that 77.8 per cent of patients were seen on time.

However the performance has declined further in recent weeks, suggesting September’s monthly average will be lower still.

The figure has been on a downward trend in recent months, falling from 88.7% in April.

The Scottish Tories said it was a "source of shame" for Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

The Scottish Government target is for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. It has not been met nationally since July 2020.

PHS reported 1,410 people spent more than 12 hours waiting to be seen in A&E in August, while 5,460 were there for eight hours or more.

The long waits have had a knock-on effect for ambulances, with paramedics unable to drop off patients at busy casualty units, leading to problems system-wide.

Mr Yousaf has now called in the army and fire service to help ease the backlog.

There are also reports today of police officers taking the sick to A&E in the back of their cars and vans because of a lack of ambulances.

READ MORE: Scottish police 'driving patients to hospital amid ambulance crisis'

The worst weekly A&E figure on record was in the seven days to September 12, when just 71.5% of patients were dealt with on time in Scotland.

The latest figures, for the week to September 26, show the four-hour standard was met for 76% of patients, a slight slight rise on 74.4% the previous week.

During that week, 1,191 people spent more than eight hours in A&E, while 343 were there for more than 12 hours.

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Week after week, Humza Yousaf failed to accept there was a crisis in our NHS. The reality is that he’s ended up presiding over the worst monthly A&E performance since the SNP came to power. That should be a source of shame for him.

“My colleagues on the frontline in our hospitals are beyond breaking point. Thousands of patients are failing to be seen within the SNP’s own target waiting times. Hundreds of patients have disgracefully had to wait for over half a day after arriving at A&E.

“Humza Yousaf’s flimsy recovery pamphlet and total inaction has led to this appalling situation for staff and patients. He’s too busy making sure he’s attending photo opportunities rather than getting a grip on the issues on the frontline.

“The situation should hopefully now be improving thanks to the support from the UK Armed Forces, but he must maximise their use to drive down waiting times. 

“We’ve been demanding a NHS Winter Plan from Humza Yousaf for weeks, but he’s only finally getting round to it now.

“We must finally see leadership from the Health Secretary, otherwise the situation in A&E could completely spiral out of control in the winter months.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Even with staff working harder than ever and police officers and the army pitching in, more than 6,000 people a week are waiting more than four hours to be seen.

"Over a thousand are waiting more than eight.

“It’s only October. Winter pressures will make things so much worse.

“Staff need to know that their wellbeing won’t be sacrificed more than it has been already. They need a light at the end of the tunnel, and a cast iron guarantee that the health service will look after them, just as they have looked after us.

“If the Health Secretary can’t offer this, staff will undoubtedly head for the door.

“The government must also take full responsibility, instead of hiding behind the excuse of the pandemic. There needs to be a full independent review into all unnecessary deaths caused by this crisis, so that the government does not repeat its mistakes.”