A&E performance has come under scrutiny this winter throughout the UK / Getty Images

95 per cent of patients should be treated within four hours

Scotland’s A&E departments missed their waiting time targets between October and December, treating 91 per cent of patients within four hours.

The new figures reveal that, over the period, Scottish hospitals performed worse than their English counterparts, which treated 92.6 per cent of patients in four hours.

Scottish government targets are for at least 95 per cent of patient to be treated or admitted to hospital in that time.

However, in December, the figure dropped as low as 89.8 per cent, as the health service came under what Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison called “unprecedented pressures”.

In Wales, the performance in December was even worse, at 81 per cent, according to the most recent figures. 

Ms Robison said there had been an increase in the number of patients turning up at A&E and the number who required a stay in hospital.

“These factors have clearly impacted on performance and today’s figures do not meet the demanding, world leading targets we have set and the standards that patients rightly demand,” she said. 

A&E performance has come under scrutiny this winter throughout the UK, as hospitals struggle to cope with a growing number of frail elderly patients who require long stays in hospital, meaning that bed capacity is often limited, leading to longer waits at the emergency department.