NHS delays are at their worst ever level

Key performance targets for A&E care, access to GPs, cancer care and planned operations are at their worst ever levels, with experts saying the NHS’s performance is at previously “unthinkable” depths.

The Guardian reports that doctors and nurse leaders say A&E staff feel “despair, anguish, anger and frustration” that they have too little time to provide proper care because they are so busy with the sheer number of patients seeking help. There is concern that the intense workloads mean that clues are missed about a patient’s condition.

Official figures show that record numbers of patients are being forced to stay with ambulance crews for an hour or more this winter because overwhelmed A&E units are too busy to admit them.

A total of 81,012 patients in England have had to remain with ambulance personnel for at least half an hour because of delays getting into an emergency department in the five weeks since winter began. That is the highest number since records began in 2017-18.

The new NHS figures showed that hospital-based A&E units are treating the smallest ever percentage of patients within four hours – just 68.6%. It is meant to be 95%. That 68.6% is the lowest proportion seen since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004 and the first time performance has fallen below 70%.

Full story from The Guardian, 9 January 2020