More than 30,000 vaccination appointments have been missed since NHS Lothian set up mass vaccination centres in the capital and surrounding areas.

During February, when the health board’s mass vaccination centres opened, 8,641 of the 102,460 appointments scheduled by NHS Lothian were not attended by patients – around one in every 12 vaccine appointments.

In the same month, NHS Lothian, Royal Mail, the National Delivery Programme and NHS National Services Scotland published a joint apology after a number of vaccines were unable to take place due to delays in patients receiving their vaccine appointments via post.

The apology came after some vaccination centres in the Lothians saw “literally no patients” on Monday March 15 and Tuesday March 16 due to the communications delay, with staff told to try and find members of the public or police officers to take the leftover jags.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is investigating whether the issue is with Royal Mail or with the National Services Scotland centralised database.

The figures, unveiled by the Local Democracy Reporting Service using freedom of information legislation, does not include data for April.

The data only includes missed appointments at the region’s mass vaccination centres, as GP data is not held centrally.

NHS Lothian has been shown to have one of the worst A&E waiting times in the country, according to new research.

The health board was ranked as having the third longest wait to be seen in hospital, alongside NHS Borders and NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

The new data comes despite the fact that accident and Emergency (A&E) attendances have plummeted to the second-lowest level recorded.

A total of 80,423 patients visited a Scottish A&E department in February, 47,918 fewer than the same month last year – before coronavirus was discovered in Scotland.

However, despite the low attendance rates, thousands of people still had to wait longer than four hours to be seen, with NHS Lothian only managing to see 81.8 per cent of patients within this time.

The only areas where this rate was worse was in NHS Borders, where only 74.7 per cent of patients were seen, and in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, where 81.1 per cent were seen.

Meanwhile, 98.2 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in Shetland, followed by Tayside and the Western Isles (both 96. per cent.

Asked about the latest figures at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Our increasing focus now is on remobilising and recovering the NHS to start to bring down the waiting times and the backlogs that have been created by Covid.”

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