Major hospitals have missed A&E targets EVERY WEEK for six months
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham claims some A&Es are only seeing 70% patients within four hoursThe target is to see 95% of patients in this time
Warning comes after one hospital was forced to erect an emergency tent outside because of overcrowding
13:20 GMT, 3 April 2013
13:24 GMT, 3 April 2013
Andy Burnham says that across England major A&E units are failing to meet the target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours
Many major hospitals have missed their national accident and emergency target every week for the last six months, it has been claimed.
Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary, said that major A&E units across England have failed to meet the target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
This has been the case every week since late September.
His claims come after one A&E department in Norfolk was this week forced to erect an emergency tent outside because it was so overcrowded.
Mr Burnham said new data from NHS England shows the 95 per cent target has been missed across the NHS, with less than 70 per cent of patients being seen within four hours at some trusts.
He said that compared to last year, 107,000 more patients have had to wait longer than four hours.
‘Standards of care are deteriorating in many parts of the country as the NHS is dragged down by David Cameron's toxic mix of cuts and re-organisation,’ said Mr Burnham.
‘England's A&E departments are suffering their worst winter for a decade, with thousands more people waiting longer to be seen across the country.
‘The NHS has failed to hit the target almost the entire time Jeremy Hunt has been Health Secretary. He urgently needs to get a grip and focus on what matters.
‘Almost 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street. Ministers must develop a plan to bring all A&Es in England back up to national standards.’
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: ‘The NHS is seeing an extra one million patients in A&E compared to two years ago and despite the additional workload it is coping well.
‘Patients shouldn't face excessive waits for treatment, which is why we provided 330 million to help the NHS cope with the extra pressure the cold weather brings.
‘The Government is meeting its promise to deliver a real terms increase in health spending and there are now 7,000 more professionally qualified clinical staff in the NHS since 2010. In contrast, the number of admin staff has fallen by over 18,000, and the money saved put back into frontline patient care.’
On Monday, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's A&E department became so overcrowded that it was forced to erect an emergency treatment tent
Mr Burnham’s comments come just after
it emerged that patients in Norfolk faced the prospect of being treated
in a tent on Monday after an A&E department became overcrowded.
A treatment tent, usually reserved for use during major emergencies, was erected outside Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as a precaution but it was not needed to treat patients.
One ambulance crewman said: 'We are so fed-up with getting slated and being made to look as if the ambulance service is to blame for the delays – but it's not us, it's A&E.
'They want to get out and save lives. That's all they want to do and they are getting caught up in a political row.
'The tent is usually used at plane crashes and big events, such as the Lord Mayor's parade. To put it up outside the A&E is unheard of.'
Another ambulance worker, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: 'It's a mini-hospital in a tent.'
'It will usually have in it treatment bays, drugs, oxygen, the same stuff on board an ambulance but inside a tent – which is a lot colder.'
Hospital chief executive Anna Dugdale said: 'The demand on emergency services over the bank holiday weekend had been exceptionally high and the ambulance tent was erected for a short period as a precautionary measure.'