Friday, 23 February, 2018

This winter expected to be worst ever for NHS

Waiting times at major A&E departments worst on record in January, figures reveal NHS hospitals in England record worst ever A&E performance
Johnnie Parks | 10 February, 2018, 03:56

The latest figures demonstrate just how hard this winter has been for the NHS, with over 8,000 patients forced to wait on trolleys for over four hours in A&E in January and more than 1,000 waiting for over 12 hours - these are the highest figures since records began.

All of the four hospital trusts in Kent failed to see 95% of A&E patients within four hours of them arriving in January.

Doctors "knew there was going to be pressurised moments" when they went into medicine, but the current situation is "not sustainable", the health secretary has said.

The figure was considerably short of the 95% target, but still an improvement on the 85.1% from December.

Data, released today from NHS England, show the number of people who went to A&E departments and the number of those who were seen within four hours of arriving.

In the interview with ITV he added: "In terms of pressures on the system, I think it probably is the worst ever".

"I take responsibility for everything that happens in the NHS", Hunt said. "Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more".

"This was partly helped by the fact that NHS-related delayed transfers of care fell to their lowest in four years freeing up beds for patients needing emergency hospitalisation".

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'Distressing scenes of frail elderly people in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter - nursing staff do not want to provide this kind of undignified care, and it is pushing people to quit the NHS.

Experts claim the soaring figures show "corridors have become the new emergency wards".

That matched the previous low recorded in January 2017, and there is an expectation the figure for this January will be worse as hospitals have faced the worst flu season in seven years and a general increase in respiratory and other illnesses.

"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", Dr Scriven added.

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

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "The human stories from the worst winter crisis on record have shocked the nation".

There is consensus among think tanks and politicians on all sides, including the Conservative chair of the Health Select committee, Sarah Wollaston, that the NHS needs at least £4bn a year more to keep up with demand, a figure backed by NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens.

East Kent hospitals got to 69.3% of its 16,562 patients, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells treated 85.3% of its 14,002 walk-ins within the time limit and Medway saw 7,878 of the 10,205 (76.9%) patients that attended A&E within four hours.

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