Sunday, 21 December 2014

A&E departments in crisis as hospitals reeling from Coalition cuts struggle to cope

In the seven days up to December 14, only six out of 140 casualty departments met the target to see 95% of patients within four hours

NHS crisis: A&E departments are struggling

Hospital A&E departments have been plunged into in crisis as over-stretched doctors struggle to meet targets of seeing patients within four hours.
Coalition cuts to wards mean the sick are being left on trolleys or in the back of ambulances outside, blocking access to casualty bays.
And the slashing of social care budgets have forced more ill elderly people into hospital emergency departments.
Labour described the past week as “the worst in A&E for many years”.
In the seven days up to December 14, only six out of 140 casualty departments met the target to see 95% of patients within four hours.
Data shows only 89.8% were seen within the target time.
Labour warned the figures showed the Tories and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt “cannot be trusted with the NHS”.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Emergency services are stretched to the limit.
“Seriously ill people are waiting hours for ambulances to arrive or on trolleys in hospital corridors. This is before winter has begun in earnest.”
NHS England admitted the health service was under huge strain but insisted it was still offering a “robust” response.
Dr Barbara Hakin, national director of commissioning operations, said: “Pressures on our A&E services continue to increase significantly.
“We have admitted more people to hospital (in the week ending December 14) to take care of them than in any previous week on record.”
But Dr Louise Irvine, of the Natinal Health Action party, said: “The reason A&E is in crisis is not because too many people are attending A&E as there has only been a small rise in ​the number of ​people turning up at A&E.
“Don’t blame patients for the A&E crisis. Blame the government. Waiting times are the worst ever yet the number of people attending A&E is up less than 5.5% from the same week last year, from 416,000 to 440,000.

A&E waiting time targets - see 95% of patients within four hours

1406
Number of A&E departmentsNumber who met the target
NHS England
“Blaming increased A&E attendance is a convenient way for the Government to avoid responsibility for the more important factors within its control​ that are contributing to the problem - A&E closures creating more pressure on nearby hospitals, sick patients stuck in A&E as cuts in the number of hospital beds mean they can’t be admitted onto wards, and cuts to social care budgets meaning more elderly people are ending up in hospital and then suffering delayed discharge due to a lack of appropriate care in the community.”
Charities blamed the record-breaking figures on budget cuts in the care sector.
Richard Hawkes, chairman of the Care and Support Alliance, which represents more than 75 charities, said: “The pressure on our health system is being intensified by the squeeze on council-funded local care.
“Chronic underfunding has left hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics like getting up or out of the house, cut out of the care system
“The impact is now being felt throughout the health and care system and the health service is forced to pick up the pieces when people become isolated, can’t live on their own and slip into crisis.”


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