LOCAL Conservatives have called for action after NHS Borders failed to meet its A&E waiting time target.

The health board saw 92.3 per cent of patients within four hours of arriving at the department in June. The aim is 95 per cent.

NHS Borders met that figure in the same month last year.

Local MSP Rachael Hamilton (Cons) said: “NHS Borders’ A&E waiting times are too long and are showing little sign of improvement.

“[The] Scottish Conservatives [have] called on SNP ministers to do more to support our hard working NHS staff and improve waiting times for patients.

“The increased pressure on A&E services has to be addressed and SNP ministers need to acknowledge that the current GP crisis is making things worse.”

But MSP Christine Grahame (SNP) hit back, blaming a 14 per cent increase in patients over the past year.

She told us: “Even the Tories admit that the numbers attending A&E has increased by 14 per cent, which might just have something to do with the slight increase in waiting times.

“So instead of kicking NHS Borders, they should be congratulating the staff on doing so well with the increased numbers at A&E.

“However if you want to know how the Tories run a health service, look no further than England – with patients parked in corridors on trolleys, ambulances parked outside unable to take patients into A&E, and operations cancelled.”

NHS Borders also blamed the rise on the increase in the number of people attending the department.

A spokesperson said: “We are caring for a high number of sick people who cannot leave hospital until they are well enough. When the numbers are so high, it can take longer for us to see new patients arriving at our Emergency Department.

“This is not what we would wish for people in the Borders, and we are sorry for those people who have had to wait too long. We work very hard to see people in a timely manner.”