Ipswich and Colchester hospital A&E waiting times for December 2019

Henrietta Brewer
January 11, 2020

Patients seeking accident and emergency treatment in the United Kingdom national healthcare system were forced to endure record waiting times last month, government figures said Thursday.

Nearly 100,000 seriously ill people (98,452) waited more than four hours for a bed after a doctor had chose to keep them in the hospital.

James Devine, chief executive at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Like many NHS organisations, we have experienced a very busy winter". NHS facilities saw around 4,300 extra patients a day in December, a different record. Last year, only 51,000 patients waited half an hour and 9,999 per hour or more.

And while The Yorkshire Post is the first to applaud NHS staff for their professionalism, and the fact that most emergency patients were still seen within the four-hour benchmark, the inaction of Mr Hancock is now rather troubling.

In the worst ever performance of its kind in the NHS, just 79.8 per cent of all patients were cared for in December within the target time.

Other statistics laying bare the huge pressure on A&E units revealed ambulance delays were last week the worst they have been in at least two years.

However, as questions grow about the effectiveness of Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock who has now been in post for two years, two other issues - shortcomings in GP cover and social care provision - will have been significant factors.

"The NHS is struggling to escape its spiral of decline".

"Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result".

December 2019 was the NHS's busiest ever month with record numbers of A&E attendances and ambulance call-outs.

About 10,000 callouts were to the most serious, life-threatening cases - again the highest number recorded in a month and a rise of 16.6% from the previous year.

The total number of attendances at A&E departments in December 2019 was 2,181,024, - a 6.5% increase on December 2018.

Almost 15,000 patients attended A&E last month.

'We have got more hospital beds open than last winter, but flu has come early and is around twice as high as this time a year ago. For the public there is still time to get your flu jab, and keep in mind to use the free NHS 111 phone and online service and your local pharmacist. We're also looking at how we can better stream patients when they arrive in ED to ensure they get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Around 84% of those on the waiting list had been waiting less than 18 weeks, thus not meeting the 92% standard.

Separately, cancer waiting time targets were also missed, with tens of thousands of people experiencing delays in diagnosis and treatment.

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