NHS Scotland’s accident and emergency (A&E) waiting times have worsened, according to official statistics, leading to renewed concern over “completely avoidable” deaths.

The latest Public Health Scotland statistics showed that 7,924 patients in A&E waited longer than four hours to be dealt with.

This includes 1,898 patients who were there for at least eight hours, and 563 patients who spent at least 12 hours in A&E.

During NHS Scotland’s winter crisis, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland (RCEM) warned that around 50 excess deaths a week were occuring, due to the likelihood of patient death increasing after about five or six hours waiting in an emergency department.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, said the coming winter is now “a terrifying prospect”.

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