NHS fails to hit A&E target every week for six months
- Over 100,000 more patients waiting over four hours compared to same period last year
- Easter bank holiday chaos: one A&E sets up tent to cope with queues
Fears for patient safety grow as NHS misses the national A&E target every week for six months, according to official figures published today. The new figures come as reports reveal Bank Holiday weekend chaos across the NHS, with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital erecting a major incident tent to deal with a crowded A&E department yesterday.
Data published by the new NHS England body today shows that, across England, major A&E units have failed to meet the four-hour A&E target each week since late September. The target of 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours at major A&E units has been missed across the NHS, with performance at some NHS trusts dipping below 70 per cent in recent months.
In the last six months, an extra 107,000 patients have had to wait beyond the four-hour target time compared to the same period last year.
Staffing shortages across the NHS have left A&E departments over-stretched and under severe pressure, with reports of ambulances queuing outside and patients left on trolleys for hours on end.
Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“Standards of care are deteriorating in many parts of the country as the NHS is dragged down by David Cameron’s toxic mix of cuts and re-organisation.
“England’s A&E departments are suffering their worst winter for a decade, with thousands more people waiting longer to be seen across the country.
“The NHS has failed to hit the target almost the entire time Jeremy Hunt has been Health Secretary. He urgently needs to get a grip and focus on what matters.
“The Government must ensure there are enough staff on the ground across the NHS to provide safe care. Almost 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street. Ministers must develop a plan to bring all A&Es in England back up to national standards.”