Grim facts behind A&E delays

Emergency medicine consultants are again warning that NHS England’s latest A&E performance figures mean “we are seeing the sharp demise of the health service.” But there is no sign would-be Tory leaders are listening, or at all bothered by the service failures.

The official figures for July show almost 30,000 patients were kept waiting over 12 hours in A&E following a decision to admit – largely due to lack of beds, which in turn has been worsened by delays in discharging people who no longer need hospital care … for lack of social care and community health services.

A Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) press statement points out that 30,000 is more than 3.5 times the total number of 12-hour waits for the whole of 2019.”

It also points out that these figures are merely the tip of the iceberg of delays in A&E since the numbers waiting over 12 hours from time of arrival in A&E is many times higher: RCEM calculations from figures in a sample of hospitals in 2021 showed these delays were 14 times higher than the official recorded 12-hour waits.

It’s likely on this basis that the 30,000 figure in July translates into more than 400,000 patients across England waiting more than 12 hours on trolleys in July from arrival in an Emergency Department to being given a bed on a ward.

Full story in The Lowdown, 13 August 2022