New figures out this morning reveal that one in five people who attended an accident and emergency unit last month were forced to wait more than four hours,the target time the government aims for 95 per cent of patients to be seen in.
NHS England’s monthly statistics showed that more than 2,000 people waited upwards of 12 hours for a hospital bed, 284 endured similar waiting times in December 2018.
Responding to today’s NHS England monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
‘As we enter a new decade, with a new government, today’s figures are a reminder of the escalating challenges facing the NHS.
‘The figures highlight the worst performance ever documented for A&E waiting times. Hospitals opened thousands of extra beds, but still struggled to cope with the record number of patients who needed emergency admission.
‘This situation is unlikely to stabilise, let alone improve, until the major NHS workforce shortages and the crisis in social care are addressed. Dedicated NHS staff are already working incredibly hard under enormous pressure to treat more seriously unwell patients, but a prolonged cold snap or severe flu outbreak could make the next few weeks even worse.
‘The Government has made welcome commitments to recruit more GPs and nurses – we now need to see a comprehensive and realistic plan to deliver this and to support staff already working across primary, community and hospital services.
‘No plan for the NHS will work while social care remains the Cinderella service. Long overdue action on social care is needed to support older people and younger adults with disabilities to live safely and independently, and reduce the pressures on the NHS.’