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Worst A&E waiting times since records began

By Aliss Higham
January 15 2020, 09.40

A&E waiting times were the worst since records began in December, with one in five people waiting more than four hours for emergency treatment.

NHS England released figures showing record delays in admissions within four hours, with just 79.8% of patients waiting less than four hours. 

2,181,024 people attended A&E across the country last month.

More than 2,000 of them spent in excess of 12 hours waiting for a hospital bed with 167 of these in south west London.

Across the country the number of people facing waits of 12 hours or more, known as ‘trolley-waits’, doubled from 1,112 in November to 2,347 in December.

NHS England sets the target for seeing admissions to A&E within four hours of arrival at 95%, which has not been reached since July 2015.

INTERACTIVE GRAPH: A&E data across hospitals serving SW postcodes from October 2019 – December 2019

The worst performing A&E department serving south west London is King’s College Hospital in Camberwell.

In the last quarter of 2019 it had 13,475 admissions. 4,109 of those waited over four hours to see a doctor or nurse. 

A spokesperson for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Like many hospitals across the country, we have seen and continue to see increased demand for emergency care.

“All patients who present at our Emergency Department (ED) are assessed and prioritised in order of clinical need. We are currently looking at ways to reconfigure space in the hospital to help manage demand.”

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “A&Es across the country are currently very busy. In 2019 we treated over a million more patients in our A&Es than the previous year.

“We have got more hospital beds open than last winter, but flu has come early and is around twice as high as this time last year.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Over two million people attended A&E last month, that means that dedicated staff cared for over 70,000 people every day – the highest ever for December.

“We have invested an extra £240 million in adult social care to get patients home quicker and an extra £1 billion for immediate hospital upgrades.

“Improving the NHS is a priority of the Prime Minister and a record cash boost worth £33.9 billion extra by 2023/24 is being enshrined in law by the Government.”

The government previously pledged ‘50,000 more nurses’ for the NHS, however Boris Johnson admitted during the General Election campaign that only 31,000 would be new recruits, with the figure including 18,500 existing nurses who would be encouraged to stay in their jobs.

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