Friday, 5 December 2014

Hospital A&Es miss waiting time target as admissions hit record high

Government says NHS is equipped to manage extra demand, as figures show attendances at A&Es up 5% on last yea

The NHS target is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours at A&Es. Photograph: Alamy

Hospital A&E departments in England missed their waiting time target for the 72nd week in a row and there were a record number of admissions through the units last week, as the NHS came under increasing strain.
There were 284,685 attendances at hospital A&E units, 5% up on the equivalent period last year, and 78,888 admissions. There were 110,601 emergency admissions overall, another record.
Labour said the figures would “alarm people about what lies ahead”, but the government said the NHS was equipped to manage the extra demand.
Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, director of operations and delivery for NHS England, said of the record number of admissions: “Unsurprisingly this is leading to extra pressures on our A&Es. The NHS is pulling out all the stops, with local hospitals, ambulances, GPs, home health services and local councils all working hard to open extra beds and seven-day services using the extra winter funding that has been made available.”
The NHS target is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours. In the week ending 30 November, the number of patients waiting over four hours to be seen rose 54% on the equivalent week last year to 27,458.
Last week, there were 5,524 patients who waited on a trolley for a ward bed between four and 12 hours, down on the previous week, but 84% up on the same period last year.
The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said: “David Cameron’s abolition of guaranteed access to GP services and undermining of social care has left England’s hospital A&Es under intolerable pressure. They are trapped in a downward spiral.”
Department of Health spokeswoman said it had given the NHS a record £700m to help it respond to the pressures of an aging population. “The NHS has ensured there are plans in every area to manage the extra demand,” she added.

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