ACCIDENT and emergency waiting times across the Lothians are “completely unacceptable”, according to an MSP.

The Scottish Government’s target is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within four hours of attending A&E.

However, in Lothian, only two-third of patients were seen within that timeframe.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, said it was inevitable that the waiting times were going to lead to avoidable deaths in the area.

The Conservative politician, who also represents the Haddington and Lammermuir ward on East Lothian Council, said: “A&E waiting times in Lothian continue to be completely unacceptable.

“Despite the heroic efforts by staff on the frontline across the Lothians, more and more patients are facing lengthy waits at A&E.”

Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer, Acute Services, NHS Lothian, stressed services were "under extreme and sustained pressure with a number of sites being close to capacity".

She said: "We continue to experience significant pressures with high bed occupancy, resulting in long waits for patients, particularly in our Accident and Emergency departments.

“A combination of staffing and bed pressures combined with high volumes of patients presenting with complex and serious cases means that patients are having to wait longer than ever before being admitted.

“We urge everyone in Lothian to play their part to help keep A&E and our acute hospital beds for those that need them most.

"If you think you need to visit A&E, but it's not a critical emergency, or you think you need to visit a Minor Injury Unit, call NHS 24 on 111 first, day or night. NHS 24 will direct you to the right care in the right place.

“If it is an emergency always call 999 or go to your local A&E.”