A&E waits 'highest for a decade'

 
Hospital ward Long waits in A&E are rising, but still remain within the government's target

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The number of people in England facing long A&E waits has risen by a fifth in a year - and is now at its highest level for a decade, a report suggests.

The King's Fund review found from October to December 2012 more than 232,000 patients waited more than four hours.

That is a rise of 21% compared with the same period in 2011 and the highest figure for those months since 2003.

A&E doctors blamed a combination of rising pressures and staff shortages.

The number is still within the government's target.

A&E units only have to see 95% of patients within four hours, to reflect the fact that some flexibility is needed to allow doctors to prioritise the patients with the greatest need. The 232,000 figure represents 4.3% of patients.

The think-tank also found evidence of patients who needed to be admitted on to a ward being left on trolleys for long periods of time.

The report - part of the King's Fund quarterly update on NHS performance - also found a growing number of finance directors were concerned about budgets.

'Growing worries'

But there was some positive news.

It said waits for non-emergency hospital operations were holding steady, while infection rates were falling.

Nonetheless, report author Prof John Appleby said: "The NHS faces unprecedented pressures and there are growing worries that patient care will suffer."

College of Emergency Medicine president Mike Clancy added: "The report mirrors the experiences being relayed to us by our members.

"It is clear to us that emergency departments are under pressure and we are concerned about the impact on patients.

"A significant contributor to the situation is the workforce crisis."

But Health Minister Lord Howe said: "We have been absolutely clear that the NHS must find the efficiencies needed to deal with increased demand on the service without compromising on patient care and services.

"We expect the NHS to look seriously at how it can improve how care is provided."

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 162.

    @127 Mr Sherm - keep GPs nationalised? They are provate contractors who provide services to the NHS, and have never been nationalised. I think you may not be best placed to comment then.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 161.

    I haven't been to A and E in years, I dare not these days the service has become SO BAD. I suspect many of the extra visits are caused by people not being able to access other services, as it was the last time the CON idle lazy party was in power (paying for government and getting no government - do some work you lazy....). Operation waiting list up? Why not leave them until it's an emergency!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 160.

    I work in a hospital.The number of inappropriate visits to the hospital A & E is phenomenal.Some people do not understand the words Accident or Emergency and include ear infections, colds and even a whitlow on a finger as emergencies. With such staggering ignorance and thoughtlessness, no wonder our hospitals are always full.Oh-and if you can't see your GP, speak to the Practice Manager !

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 159.

    148.
    thejoyofcesc
    I should also add that those wittering on about what Government did what, this is a free service to all, and when things are free, it is ALWAYS open for abuse, which was the current case years ago, is today and always will be.
    ***The NHS is not and NEVER has been a free service. It is an insurance scheme funded by N.I. and taxes paid by users. All insurance can have abuse.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 158.

    The truth is that the NHS provide a fantastic service which is free and why so many people default to A&E for treatment hence the huge pressure they face. The other problem is that with our new culture of suing they cannot afford to turn people away without thoroughly checking them out first. If they could then you would see a huge drop as the minor injuries and time wasters were sent marching!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 157.

    Get real Spend an evening in A&E and you might appreciate the nonsense that comes in. It's supposed to be for Accidents and Emergencies but that's a contradiction in terms. It's free. Nt a penny. So people abuse it, and we're stupid enough as a nation to allow it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 156.

    @139 CH

    "sounds like you're part of the problem mate"

    I was simply following orders from my GP!!!!!!!!!!

    If your GP says "i want you to go to A&E" would you say "No...I am sorry you don't know what you are talking about.....?"

    No of course you wouldn't!!!!!!!

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 155.

    they need to bring back smoking in hospitals.
    absolutely ridiculous and against my human rights to ban it!
    its the worst thing to happen to NHS

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 154.

    150.julie

    "If you are still sat waiting, alive,breathing and complaining after 4 hours in A&E, you clearly weren't in an emergency condition after all."

    In my 100 year old relative's case the Walk-in-Centre sent the patient to A&E with an open wound as they said their rules said they could not glue head wounds for the over 65s.

    5 hrs later they had done the 5 minute job!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 153.

    This is a disgrace.

    Cuts to front line services are not acceptable under any circumstances (including A&E and care for the elderly).

    This has to be the number 1 priority of any civilized society.

    They find plenty of money to bail out banks, pet projects and paying endless managers, advisers and bean counters large salaries and perks.

    People can only be pushed so far before things turn ugly

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 152.

    127.Mr Sherm '...keep GP's & A&E nationalised' - please get your facts correct - GP's are independent contractors, they are not 'nationalised'. Most of them are in it for the cash, not for any altruistic reasons. They have a lucrative GMS contract, which is topped up by payment for everything that falls outside the scope of that Contract. They are oneof the biggest costs to the NHS.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 151.

    135.Graphis

    "5. John_from_Hendon Sorry, but if I had an elderly relative with a head wound, I would at least have made some attempt to dress the wound myself to stem the flow of blood..."

    Did that - it fell off! The walk-in-centre nurses did that and theirs fell off too. Bandaging the head over hair can be tricky!

    The A&E triage nurses said don't bother - my relative would be seen soon...

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 150.

    If you are still sat waiting, alive,breathing and complaining after 4 hours in A&E, you clearly weren't in an emergency condition after all.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 149.

    Prior to the 2010 election, Cameron promised:

    Blair's priorities were 3 words: educashun, educashun, educashun!
    I can state mine in three letters: N.H.S!


    Heaven help us if you make any more promises, Prime Minister.
    So please, please don't!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 148.

    I should also add that those wittering on about what Government did what, this is a free service to all, and when things are free, it is ALWAYS open for abuse, which was the current case years ago, is today and always will be.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 147.

    Long A &E waits.
    Still, it could be worse.
    You could be an elderly patient in North Staffs for a start.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 146.

    Brilliant. Abolish the NHS and while you're at it, stop all state benefits, housing benefits, council tax benefits, etc and do it quick before Bulgaria are permitted into the EU!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 145.

    @143.Kitty

    "So you are basically saying the NHS can run with front line services being cut all the time?"

    Front line services are not being cut because of any reduction in funds. Front line services suffer because of the explosion in centralised control, management, and tickbox culture.

    The NHS is too big a structure to be controlled centrally, it "structure" needs a massive haircut

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 144.

    Please explain how "the professionalisation of nursing has ruined the NHS"

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 143.

    @136.farkyss

    So you are basically saying the NHS can run with front line services being cut all the time? I don't think so... Ambulance staff are being cut all over, being made to work in half kitted out vans because the NHS has to cut costs yet meet the TARGETS set by oh guess who? The government.

    The NHS can't afford to run anymore because of the government cutting funds yet bean counting

 

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