12-hour A&E waits ‘for 5,000 pa­tients’

Daily Mail - - News - By Eleanor Hay­ward Health Re­porter

MORE than 1 in 20 pa­tients who went to A&E last week waited at least 12 hours for a bed, ex­perts have claimed.

All pa­tients are sup­posed to be seen within a tar­get of four hours, but thou­sands are be­ing ‘stranded on a trol­ley in a cor­ri­dor’ as the NHS faces its worst win­ter cri­sis in his­tory.

The Royal Col­lege of Emer­gency Medicine (RCEM) an­a­lysed data from 50 A&E de­part­ments which pro­vide around one third of the UK’s acute hospi­tal beds.

Its re­port shows in the first week of De­cem­ber, some 5,171 of the 103,099

pa­tients who at­tended th­ese hospitals were stuck in A&E for more than 12 hours. Only 68 per cent of pa­tients were seen within the tar­get of four hours – the worst per­for­mance on record and 10 per cent lower than the same point last year.

In re­cent days there has been chaos at A&E de­part­ments, with dozens of am­bu­lances queu­ing out­side hospitals be­cause hospi­tal beds were un­avail­able. The cri­sis was made worse by a norovirus out­break that closed more than 1,100 beds last week.

The RCEM’s Dr Kather­ine Hen­der­son said: ‘Many pa­tients are now get­ting of­ten life-chang­ing news while stranded on a trol­ley in a cor­ri­dor. This can­not be right, and we must strive to put an end to “cor­ri­dor care”. We are clearly in the worst state we’ve ever been in as we en­ter the true win­ter sea­son.’ Monthly NHS fig­ures show­ing the scale of the cri­sis will be re­leased on Fri­day. But the RCEM warns NHS re­ports do not re­flect the true scale be­cause A&E wait­ing times are mea­sured from when a de­ci­sion is made to ad­mit a pa­tient, rather than when they ar­rived. Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock

said: ‘ Our hospitals are treat­ing a record num­ber of peo­ple, and with in­creas­ing de­mand we are putting a record £33.9bil­lion ex­tra fund­ing into our NHS.’

‘This can­not be right’

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