A&E Waits Worsen Across England

Optimism Following Previous Rise Misplaced As Rates Fall To Below Previous Levels

20.02.2015

Accident and Emergency performance in English NHS hospitals has dipped slightly in the most recent weekly figures.
 
NHS bosses were cautiously optimistic following a rise last week, as 92.9% of patients were treated or admitted within four hours which was up from 92.3% the week before. The latest figures are down to 91.6%.
 
Regardless of previous improvements, the rates are still well below the national target of 95%, which has not been achieved on a weekly basis since September of last year.
 
The fall in waiting times is thought to be due to a sharp rise in A&E patients. Dr Barbara Hakin, National Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England, said the increase had resulted in a "slight impact on waiting times". An estimated 420,700 patients used an A&E department last week.
 
"Last week saw a sharp increase in A&E attendance and emergency admissions - up by nearly 15,000 on the week before," Hakin said. "These are the highest levels since Christmas and are also up on the same week last year."
 
This is the 20th consecutive week in which NHS England have failed to meet the targets for A&E waiting times.

Expert Opinion
There remains much pressure on A&E services up and down the country, but it is vital that hospitals continue to work to ensure that all patients requiring urgent care are given the support they need as soon as possible.

"We have seen too many cases in which patients have suffered as a result of delays in treatment and the risks of such problems should not be underestimated. The safety of patients must always come first."
Julie Lewis, Partner