Health Care

NHS Accident and Emergency departments suffer second-worst month, figures reveal

NHS Accident and Emergency departments suffer second-worst month, figures reveal”

More than 1,000 patients had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen - more than double the previous month.

They are a setback for Jeremy Hunt, the health and social care secretary, who has ordered the NHS to improve its performance against the best-known of the various NHS-wide waiting time targets.

The four-hour figure for Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust fell from 82.4 per cent in December to 77.7 per cent in January.

Casualty wards are expected to treat 95 per cent of patients within this time. "In terms of pressures on the system, I think it probably is the worst ever because we've got very high levels of demand", he said. "When they signed up to go into medicine, they knew there would be pressurised moments", he said.

But Mr Hunt did say sorry to patients, telling the programme: "I take responsibility for everything that happens in the NHS".

"All of this points to the need for a long-term funding settlement for the NHS and social care to be reached - one that enables local care services to deliver the standards that patients deserve".

Almost 7000 patients were seen within four hours or less out of a total of 7,500 people who attended the Bournemouth's A&E department.

Hospitals recorded their worst performance against the four-hour A&E treatment target last month as the NHS came under unprecedented strain because of winter and the flu outbreak.

Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy and deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "These figures show there has been absolutely no let-up in the pressures on the NHS". But Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the Nuffield Trust think-tank, said the health service was "creaking at the seams".

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine, said measure were needed to tackle stress and exhaustion among NHS staff.

Flu-related deaths in the United Kingdom have risen to 215 this winter as some 3,745 people were admitted to hospital with the bug last week. PHE said flu levels remain high but are continuing to stabilise across the UK.

"The last six weeks has seen the acute services of the NHS under a sustained period of stress due to "normal" winter pressures along with a surge in influenza", he added.

"The appalling human stories arising from the worst winter crisis on record have shocked the nation".

If A&E performance was at a new low in January it will make this the worst winter since current performance targets were introduced 15 years ago, and will raise fresh questions about the sustainability of NHS budgets and structures.

Waiting times at the city's A&E departments deteriorated last month as hospitals around the country continued to face a busy winter.

Rebecca Jones, Communications Officer of the Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust, said: "Seeing patients coming through our Emergency Department in a timely manner isn't just an ED team effort, it's the whole hospital working together as a unit to ensure there are beds for incoming patients".

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