An MSP has insisted A&E staff are under unacceptable pressure after it emerged one-in-five casualty patients treated by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde weren't seen within the four-hour target time in December.

The performance of NHSGGC, which operates Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital, was the second worst of any health board in Scotland.

Maurice Golden, who represents East Renfrewshire as part of his remit as Conservative MSP for West of Scotland, said: “This is hugely concerning news for patients and our hard-working staff on the frontline across NHSGGC.

“It is apparent now this is a problem that is only getting worse as the months go on and our country’s largest health board deserves better."

He added: “If urgent action is not taken to support NHSGGC then the situation for our patients and hard-working staff is only going to be of an even greater concern.”

Mr Golden also raised serious concerns that almost 1,300 patients had to wait over eight hours to be seen, with a further 281 not being seen for over 12 hours during December.

The health board said it has implemented “a number of measures” to help reduce waiting times.

A spokesman for NHSGGC added: “Our staff are working extremely hard to ensure patients attending Emergency Departments (ED) are seen, diagnosed, treated and admitted or discharged as quickly as possible.

“Compared to last year, we have seen a 2.9 per cent increase in ED attendances and a 9.1 per cent increase in ED admissions. This is on top of a four per cent increase in attendances last year.

“This demand has regrettably impacted on our waiting times and we apologise to patients who have waited longer than they should.

“Our ED performance is an area of significant focus for us. We have implemented a number of measures to help reduce waiting times as much as possible while ensuring patients continue to receive appropriate care.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Like the majority of health boards across the UK, an increase of winter illnesses is impacting on performance within NHSGGC.

“This year, NHSGGC has received over £2.6million to strengthen capacity and ensure quality of care, patient safety and access to services over the winter period.”