Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Waiting times at hospital A&E highest for a decade as more miss 4 hour target

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The Accident & Emergency entrance at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, with Health Minister Norman Lamb inset
Testing times: Norman Lamb says the UK has the toughest targets in the developed world

Accident and Emergency waiting times have risen to their worst level for a decade, according to new figures expected to be released today.
Health Minister Norman Lamb has admitted the NHS "is not meeting" its targets as many hospitals have struggled under pressure this winter.
Some have failed to meet the target of dealing with 95% of patients within four hours.
Latest figures, which cover October to December and will be released later this morning, are expected to be the worst since this target was introduced a decade ago.

Target of A&E patients to be treated within four hours

Ambulances parked up outside the accident and emergency department of UHW

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Lamb said Britain's ageing population means hospitals are having to treat older patients with chronic conditions.
He said: "We rightly have the toughest targets in the developed world. We are not meeting them.
"We are living longer, the pressures of people living with chronic conditions.
"We hear lots of reports from A&E departments of older people particularly turning up more ill than they have in the past."
The Liberal Democrat minister called for all political parties to work together and come up with a plan to secure the long-term funding of the NHS.
He said: "I'm also saying that the NHS is so important, to all of us, that I think it goes beyond party politics.
"We all understand the pressures.
"Anyone who thinks that Labour coming into power means all these problems will disappear would be in fantasy land.
"So let's get all the parties together, this year, to have a fundamental review, engage the public in a debate and discussion about how we sustain the NHS.
"It's too important to allow this vital service to be undermined."
His comments come amid growing pressure on hospitals with a number declaring "major incidents" in recent days because of A&E pressures.

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