Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hospitals struggling as winter hits

This week's figures for England:

  • 95%
    target for patients seen in 4 hours at A&E
  •  
  • 87.7%
    patients seen in 4 hours at major A&E hospitals
  •  
  • 91.8%
    patients seen in 4 hours at all A&E units
The additional pressures of cold weather, norovirus and flu have an impact on all A&E departments across the UK. This tracker allows you to find out how the NHS is doing where you live.
England is the only place to publish weekly A&E data every week. Elsewhere it is published on a monthly or quarterly basis. To see how the health service is performing please submit your postcode below.

Analysis



By Nick Triggle, Health correspondent, BBC News

During the first week of December 91.8% of A&E patients in England were seen within four hours – that is the worst performance since April 2013. The problems are most acute in the major units where just one in seven hit the target.

Why are hospitals struggling so much? The simple answer is that there are more patients. Visits to A&E topped 436,000 last week – that is nearly 30,000 more than the same week the year before.

But it is also the nature of the conditions patients are presenting with that make a difference. The best indication of this is the numbers that need to be admitted into hospital as an emergency. These are the most complex cases that often take A&E staff the longest to deal with and lead to beds being occupied. The numbers topped 110,000 last week – that is one of the highest figures ever recorded.


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