Accident and Emergency waiting to happen

Access to treatment Campaigns NHS

Before the election, David Cameron said the NHS was safe in his hands. However, Accident and Emergency units have seen performance deteriorate significantly this winter. Labour has uncovered new evidence to show to patients are suffering delays at every stage of emergency:

  • More ambulances missing 8 minute arrival target
  • Patients waiting for hours in the back of ambulances
  • More patients waiting more than four hours in A&E
  • Patients waiting hours on trolleys for hospital beds
Ambulances outside the Accident and Emergency Dept
Ambulances outside the Accident and Emergency Dept

  • A&E waiting times are the worst in almost a decade and Government has missed its own reduced target for A&E patients for the last 17 consecutive weeks with only 94.7% of patients being seen within four hours so far this year
  • An extra 47,000 patients so far this winter have waited more than 4 hours in A&E compared to last winter, NHS data confirms
  • Over 100,000 extra patients have now waited longer than 4 hours for treatment in A&E since the start of the NHS 2012/13 year
  • Patients are waiting longer on trolleys – new year-to-date figures show an extra 23,000 waited longer than four hours on trolleys to be admitted than in 2011/12.
  • Delayed discharges from hospital have risen by 15% above 2010 figures
  • The health care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, has warned that 17 hospitals are under-staffed and cannot guarantee patient safety. 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street.

The official figures are bad enough. But they do not tell the full story of the pressure on England’s emergency service. A new survey by Labour of all ambulance trust reveals the scale of the chaos in A&E units

Key findings as follows:

  • An extra 10,400 patients were made to wait 30 minutes or more outside A&E units before being accepted by A&E compared with last winter – Paramedics warn of “dire” situation
  • Patients, in some areas, are being made to wait in ambulances for five over hours:
    • In Great Western Ambulance Trust a patient waited 5 hours and 42 minutes
    • In West Midlands Ambulance Trust a patient waited 5 hours and 5 minutes
    • In Southern Central Ambulance Trust a patient waited 4 hours and 56 minutes
  • With ambulances tied up in queues, fewer than 7 in 10 ambulances, in some regions, are reaching the most serious call outs within the 8 minute arrival time target

Paramedics warn services on brink of crisis:

  •  “Families of sick people arrive at hospitals and expect to find them in a bed, but they are still outside in an ambulance. The frustration of ambulance staff is beyond belief”Paramedic in the North East
  •  “Someone will die this winter as a result of no ambulance being available at the time of the emergency. It is not a matter of if, but when” Paramedic in Hertfordshire

Labour calls on David Cameron to:

  • Ensure that every NHS trust is sufficiently staffed in order to provide safe care through the winter and develops a plan to bring all A&Es back up to national standards.
  • Drop plans to close Lewisham A&E and other reconfigurations where a sound clinical case has not been made.