CONCERNS are repeatedly being raised over "consistently low" compliance with emergency department waiting times at NHS Forth Valley.

Two opposition politicians have sounded alarm bells over A&E performance against the four hour standard.

According to the standard, people attending at emergency departments should be admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours.

However, statistics published by Public Health Scotland showed NHS Forth Valley only met the target in 51.1 per cent of cases on the week ending October 31.

The figure hit its lowest of 41 per cent on the week ending October 10 and MSPs Alexander Stewart and Alex Rowley have both raised concerns over the latest figures.

Mr Stewart said: "It is shocking and inexcusable that fewer than 50 per cent of patients to Forth Valley emergency department are being seen within four hours.

"The Scotland-wide figure of 70 per cent is terrible enough, but NHS Forth Valley's record is half that of the NHS Scotland target."

Mr Rowley added: "Most health boards are consistently achieving 70-90 per cent of attendees seen within four hours, but now only half of patients are seen within four hours at NHS Forth Valley A&E departments.

"I have to ask why NHS Forth Valley is so much lower and why it is so consistently low."

It is understood that a number of longer hold ups at the health board are due to people having to wait for inpatient beds to become free.

Forth Valley Royal Hospital continues to be "exceptionally busy" according to a spokeswoman for the health board.

She said: "Colleagues in social care are also experiencing an increase in referrals and significant staff shortages which has led to a high number of patients facing delays in being discharged from local hospitals.

"Staff are doing everything possible to reduce delays and patients with more serious illnesses and injuries who require urgent care continue to be prioritised.

"A number of actions have been taken to help increase capacity across local health and care services and we have seen a small but steady improvement in our performance against the four hour access standard over the last few weeks which we are working hard to further improve."

Both MSPs are taking up the issue with government and ministers with Mr Stewart also raising a Freedom of Information Request.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government explained how the health secretary has warned that this will be "the most difficult winter in NHS history" – hence £300million worth of measures have been announced to increase capacity and tackle issues.

They added: "Alongside the additional £10m investment recently announced to prevent delayed discharge and avoid hospital stays, we recently announced a further £10m in winter funding which aims to ease pressures in A&E departments and minimise delays that patients are currently experiencing when they need urgent care."

People are being urged by the health board to call NHS 24 on 111 for health advice if it is not life-threatening and organise an appointment for the Minor Injuries Unit or Urgent Care Centre.