40% A&E patients are not being seen for at least four hours

Just 58% of patients who attended A&E over Christmas week were seen within NHS target of four hours, ‘unacceptable’ figures show

  • Hospitals failed to meet target for 42.1% during the week ending December 31 
  • It was the second worst four-hour performance since records began in 2015 
  • Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting slammed the ‘unacceptable’ figures 
  • More than four in ten A&E patients were not seen within the NHS‘s four-hour target over the Christmas week, ‘unacceptable’ figures show.

    Statistics from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine shows hospitals in the UK treated just 57.8 per cent within the time-frame in the week ending December 31. It was the second worst A&E performance since records began in 2015.

    Ambulance handover waiting times also increased during the week, with the number of hours lost increasing 44.7 per cent to 1,670.

    Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary, said almost half of patients were ‘left waiting, often in pain and distress’ in A&E over Christmas.

    The health service is currently battling crises on multiple fronts, with thousands of staff forced to isolate because of the rapid spread of Omicron.

    Thousands of routine operations have already been cancelled and people have been told to avoid A&Es as hospitals try to contain the wave.

    The NHS has already struck a deal with the private sector to ‘safeguard’ against the crisis, which will see more cancer patients being treated in private hospitals. 

    Data shows Covid hospitalisations are now starting to fall across England, in line with earlier trends in London which was hit first and worst by the mutant strain. 

    And health service bosses are confident they will cope with the current pressures, with one top official yesterday insisting the ‘front line will hold’ even with the health service on ‘war footing’.

    Data from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) shows hospitals in the UK failed to meet the NHS maximum targets of four-hour A&E waiting times for 42.1 per cent of patients during the week ending December 31

    Data from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) shows hospitals in the UK failed to meet the NHS maximum targets of four-hour A&E waiting times for 42.1 per cent of patients during the week ending December 31

    It was a higher proportion than the 37.4 per cent who were left waiting in hospitals the week before. And it is the second largest since records began in 2015 after the first week of December (43.1 per cent)

    It was a higher proportion than the 37.4 per cent who were left waiting in hospitals the week before. And it is the second largest since records began in 2015 after the first week of December (43.1 per cent)

    Ambulance handover waiting times also increased during the week, with the number of hours lost increasing 44.7 per cent to 1,670

    Ambulance handover waiting times also increased during the week, with the number of hours lost increasing 44.7 per cent to 1,670

    Wes Streeting, Labour's shadow health and social care secretary, said almost half of patients 'left waiting, often in pain and distress' in A&E over Christmas

    Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary, said almost half of patients ‘left waiting, often in pain and distress’ in A&E over Christmas

    Intensive care doctor reveals EVERY critically ill Covid patient being treated at his hospital is unvaccinated 

    An intensive care doctor today said every critically ill coronavirus-infected patient currently being treated at his hospital is unvaccinated. 

    Dr David Hepburn said there are now no vaccinated Covid patients in critical care at Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, South Wales.

    The £350million Specialist Critical Care Centre, which has 24 ICU beds, was opened four months early in November 2020 in order to tackle spiralling coronavirus cases at the time.

    But Dr Hepburn said the only people now in treatment are those who have chosen not to take up the offer of a vaccine.  

    Data from across England shows less than nine per cent of Covid patients in critical care are boosted. This compares to more than 60 per cent who are have not had a vaccine.

    This is despite over-18s with boosters making up the majority of the adult population, compared to just the fraction who are unvaccinated. 

    Ministers have called for all adults to book in their booster as the country’s best line of defence against the current Omicron wave.

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    Mr Streeting said: ‘It is unacceptable for almost half of patients to be left waiting, often in pain and distress, for more than four hours in A&E over Christmas.’ 

    The RCEM said the data suggests patients ‘continue to endure long waits’ this year, with 2021 the worst year on record for waiting times.

    A spokesperson said: ‘While indications are that the Omicron surge is beginning to slow, at least for the time being, at least one source of burden may start to ease a bit, freeing up much-needed capacity. 

    ‘However, the system’s resilience has been stretched to such an extent in recent months that it is hard to envision a meaningful improvement in performance anytime soon.

    ‘Patients will continue to endure long waits and suffer the kind of indignities associated with corridor care that the Winter Flow Project highlighted before Christmas.’ 

    Meanwhile, the latest data shows A&E waiting time performance in Scottish hospitals has also fallen, with just 72 per cent of patients being seen within four hours.

    For the week ending January 2, some 6,198 patients had to wait longer than fours hours, while 299 had to wait longer than 12 hours.

    Many hospitals have come under severe pressure during the Omicron wave of coronavirus. Last week, patients in the greater Glasgow area were told to avoid A&E departments unless their condition was life-threatening.

    Performance against the national four-hour target stood at 80 per cent for the week ending December 26, statistics from Public Health Scotland show.

    It has dipped below 70 per cent twice — in mid-October and early December.

    The Scottish Government’s target of 95 per cent of patients being attended to within four hours has not been met since July 2020.

    Responding to the figures, Scottish Conservative health spokesman, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, said: ‘It may be a new year but it’s clear the Health Secretary still has no new strategy for tackling the crisis in Scotland’s emergency wards.

    ‘These figures are unacceptable and it’s clear Humza Yousaf’s paltry Covid recovery plan isn’t fit for purpose.

    ‘Despite the wonderful support of UK armed forces, our under-resourced A&E departments simply can’t cope with the huge demands being placed upon them — and the blame for that lies squarely with the SNP Government.

    ‘When Scotland’s largest health board — Greater Glasgow and Clyde — is pleading with patients to stay away from A&E unless their condition is life-threatening, the Health Secretary simply has to wake up and get a grip of his brief.’

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