Half of Scotland’s emergency departments are treating patients in hospital corridors, alarming research has found, as top medics issued a warning over the “undignified and unsafe” practice.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has analysed data to capture a “snapshot” of an average Monday night in accident-and-emergency (A&E) units in Scotland, during four weeks in March and April.

Out of Scotland’s 29 emergency departments,14 reported patients were being treated in corridors – although eight did not provide any data at all.

Of the 826 patients in attendance across the 21 emergency departments, 106 were being treated on trolleys in the corridor – a total of 12.8 per cent.

Only one emergency department had any free cubicles at the time. The average cubicle occupancy was 182 per cent and the maximum for any one department was 258 per cent.

The RCEM said the problem of overcrowding was present across the UK.

Dr John-Paul Loughrey, RCEM vice-president for Scotland, said: “The image of more than 100 people – 100 grandparents, parents, children and friends – receiving treatment on trolleys in corridors across Scotland at once is truly heart-breaking.

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