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‘Worst summer’ for cash-starved A&E

Latest shock Con-Dem figures exposes cuts crisis

England’s A&E services have suffered their worst summer for a decade — and winter promises to be no better.

Government cuts and axing of nursing posts left almost a million patients waiting for treatment for more than four hours — the maximum waiting target — an NHS report revealed yesterday.

The number is three times higher than Labour’s last year in government and the report said that England’s major A&E departments missed the government’s four-hour target in 41 of the last 52 weeks.

And 172,266 A&E patients were kept on trolleys between four and 12 hours waiting for beds — 47 per cent higher than the previous year. Meanwhile, 219 A&E patients waited more than 12 hours on trolleys, more than double the previous year.

Labour laid the blame squarely at the door of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “Jeremy Hunt has been in post for one year and we now have figures to show that those 12 months have been the worst in a decade in A&E.”

He said the statistics were “damning” and Mr Hunt had caused “the first summer A&E crisis in living memory.”

One poll found two-thirds of voters believe there is a crisis, with patients at risk, and blamed cuts for staff shortages, while another found 90 per cent of nurses in acute and emergency care believe that pressures on A&E services are endangering patients.

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