Ques­tion of trust

Ac­cu­racy needed on NHS waits

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

OF­FI­CIAL STATIS­TICS of­ten paint a bleak pic­ture of the chal­lenges fac­ing our over­bur­dened NHS but alarm­ing new ev­i­dence has sug­gested the true state of play may be even worse.

Re­search by the Royal Col­lege of Emer­gency Medicine has found that at just one-third of NHS trusts, more than 38,000 pa­tients have waited longer than 12 hours for a bed since the start of Oc­to­ber – a stark con­trast to of­fi­cial NHS Eng­land data which sug­gests only 13,000 pa­tients have en­dured such waits across Eng­land since 2011/12.

The dis­par­ity is down to the RCEM mea­sur­ing time in A&E from the mo­ment a pa­tient ar­rives at an emer­gency depart­ment (in com­mon with how fig­ures are recorded in Wales, Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land), while NHS Eng­land take the start­ing point from when a de­ci­sion to ad­mit a pa­tient is made – mean­ing hours in wait­ing rooms or cor­ri­dors are not taken into ac­count.

In a shock­ing re­cent ex­am­ple, a four-year-old boy slept on the floor on a pile of coats of the Leeds Gen­eral In­fir­mary af­ter be­ing rushed to hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance last week.

De­spite the fact he needed an oxy­gen mask, he did not get a bed for over 13 hours be­fore be­ing di­ag­nosed with in­fluenza A and ton­sil­li­tis.

The hos­pi­tal has apol­o­gised but added their staff have been work­ing tire­lessly in what has been their busiest week on A&E for al­most four years.

The child’s case and thou­sands of oth­ers like his show why it is vi­tal the real scale of the prob­lems make their way into of­fi­cial statis­tics – it is only through ac­knowl­edg­ing the true re­al­ity can ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions be found.

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