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A&E wait times reach this winter’s high

MORE than 12,000 ambulance patients in England waited at least 30 minutes to be transferred to an ambulance and emergency department last week — the highest weekly total of the winter so far.

A total of 2,986 people waited more than an hour to be handed over to an A&E unit between December 31 and January 6, up 63 per cent from 1,830 the previous week.

A further 9,299 had to wait between 30 minutes and an hour, the figures released by NHS England showed.

More than 93 per cent of all beds were occupied in hospitals last week — higher than the benchmark of 92 per cent.

One NHS Trust, Croydon Health Services in south London, reported 100 per cent bed occupancy all week.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the “staggeringly bad” figures, saying they were a “shocking indictment of nine years of Tory cuts, failure to recruit staff and a botched NHS reorganisation.”

He said: “Patients are waiting longer in pain and distress, with a real risk that their health could deteriorate further. Patients deserve better.”

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