Across England, more than 30,000 patients each week now wait too long to be seen in local A&E departments – an increase of more than 50 per cent on the same period last year.
For the first time, Labour Party analysis of official NHS England data names the A&E departments where performance deteriorated most significantly in the last 12 months. Some hospitals have seen ten-fold increases in the number of patients waiting too long - a drop in standards hidden by headline national figures.
The NHS expects patients to be seen, treated, dismissed or admitted within four hours and the Government target is for this standard to be reached for 95 per cent of patients. Yet hospitals around the country fail to achieve that target for rapidly growing numbers of patients.
Similarly, for patients admitted to hospital after visiting A&E, twice as many now wait on trolleys for as long as 12 hours for a bed due to the shortage of available space on the wards.
The analysis covers all English regions and in the East Midlands includes:
- In Kettering, the number of patients waiting over 4 hours to be seen in A&E increased by almost 5,000 per cent in a year - from just seven patients during the second week of April 2014 to 351 during the same week in April 2015 and the largest increase of any hospital trust in England. The number of patients on a trolley between 4 and 12 hours waiting for a ward bed increased from zero in 2014 to 163 patients a week across the same period.
- In Stamford, the number of patients waiting over 4 hours to be seen in A&E increased by a staggering 266 per cent in a year – from 117 patients during the second week of April 2014 to 428 in the same week in April 2015. The number of patients on a trolley between 4 and 12 hours waiting for a ward bed increased from six to 78 patients across the same period.
- In Northampton, the number of patients waiting over 4 hours to be seen in A&E increased by 48 percent in a year – from 123 patients during the second week in April 2014 to 182 during the same week in April 2015.
- In Derby, the number of patients waiting over 4 hours in A&E to be seen has almost trebled in a year – from 94 patients during the second week of April 201 to 262 during the same week in April 2015. The number of patients on a trolley between 4 and 12 hours waiting for a ward be increased from zero to 20 patients across the same period.
To tackle the Tory NHS crisis, Ed Miliband this week set out an NHS Rescue Plan for Labour’s first 100 days in office. It includes putting significant resources from a mansion tax into the NHS this year; an emergency recruitment round for nurses to get 1,000 more into training this year; and kick starting early planning to avoid another winter crisis in hospitals with GPs stationed in all A&E departments and more clinically-trained staff on the NHS 111 advice line.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:
“These figures reveal a worrying slump in A&E performance in the last 12 months and lay bare the scale of the crisis the NHS is facing. Under David Cameron, A&Es across England are operating at their very limits and too many have clearly gone beyond them.
“He caused this A&E crisis by making it harder to get a GP appointment, cutting care budgets to the bone and wasting £3 billion on a damaging reorganisation. If he gets back in, extreme Tory spending cuts mean they can’t protect the NHS and the crisis in A&E will get even worse.
“Labour is the only Party facing up to it, with a fully-funded Rescue Plan. We will ease pressure on over-stretched A&Es by recruiting 20,000 more nurses and giving people a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours.”