The NHS in Scotland is “fighting for its life” after another dire set of monthly figures revealed the severe pressure hospitals continue to face.

The number of Scots waiting more than 12 hours to be seen in an A&E ward reached the highest level on record in January.

Public Health Scotland figures show 8,857 people waited more than half a day in A&E – accounting for 7.2 per cent of all attendances – up from 6,644 in December.

The figure’s previous highest level was in December 2022, when it was 8,821.

Patients whose discharge was delayed also spent a combined total of 57,860 days in hospital in January, an increase on the same period last year.

Operations continue to lag well below pre-pandemic levels, with the number of operations planned in January 16.2 per cent lower than the same month in 2020.

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