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The figure was down at 85.1 per cent, equalling the record low from last January, with more than 300,000 patients forced to wait for at least four hours in all A&E units.

As winter pressures built at NNUH only 69pc of admissions into A&E were seen within four hours in December, the figures showed.

When she arrived, she said she had to wait in a queue for four hours before doctors could see her.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "We know the NHS is extremely busy, which is why it was given top priority in the recent Budget with an extra £2.8 billion allocated over the next two years - and despite the extra pressure that comes with winter, including rising flu levels, hardworking staff treated 55,328 people within four hours every single day in December - 1,272 more each day than in the same month the previous year".

The pensioner waited for an ambulance for more than three hours despite his family calling 999 seven times, only to experience further delays at hospital.

Robison said: "Scotland's accident and emergency departments are continuing to outperform those across the rest of the United Kingdom - and indeed it is to the great credit of NHS staff that even at the height of these exceptional winter pressures, nearly eight out of ten people who attended A&E were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four hour target".

The latest statistics from NHS England show crowding on hospital wards is continuing to worsen, while levels of norovirus have risen by nearly one third in a week.

"12 hours of heart breaking shifts making decisions with little pay, little resources and little respect - can do that to you. I, and millions of others, are with you".

But he said: "The staff have been exceptional".

NHS Forth Valley was the poorest performing health board with just 57.3% of patients dealt with within four hours. "Our performance, inclusive of all relevant emergency areas, is 81pc, one of the best performing Trusts in the country".

Today, NHS Providers warned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the health service will fail to deliver "the care we need as a nation" without more money. "The Trust has made preparations for these pressures, improving efficiencies throughout the year and our staff are working hard to ensure excellent patient care is maintained at all times".

A&E remains closed overnight but wards have been reconfigured to try to increase the number of beds available.

Mr Rennie said staff and patients were suffering because of Ms Sturgeon's "failure to do her job over the last 10 years".

"This situation fluctuates, as this week we have seen a significant improvement in our ambulance handover times".

"While we would not wish to deter anyone from seeking medical treatment, we would ask people to consider alternative options to A&E such as your local pharmacist or calling 111 or downloading our Choose Well App". For minor conditions, GPs, pharmacies and the NHS 111 service will be able to assist or to signpost to the most appropriate service.

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