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Deadly spike in A&E waiting times ‘truly horrifying’

HEALTH campaigners condemned the latest “horrifying” spike in A&E wait times today.

In January, 54,308 people had to wait more than 12 hours from the time of the decision to admit them to an accident and emergency department to when it took effect, rising sharply from 44,045 in December.

The figures also revealed worsening waits for routine hospital treatment, with 13,164 having waited more than 18 months for their treatment to start at the end of December, up from 11,168 in November.

According to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, as many as 500 people are dying each week because of delays in emergency care.

Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr John Puntis called the increase “truly horrifying,” adding: “A&E can be considered the canary in the mine when it comes to the NHS.

“Lack of community and social care support prevents discharge from hospital, meaning that the current inadequate numbers of beds remain full with no immediate space for further admissions. 

“This is one of the most striking illustrations of the devastating consequences for patients of government neglect of both health and social care.”

We Own It lead campaigner Johnbosco Nwogbo said the waiting times were the “inevitable result of successive governments undermining our NHS.”

“There is no substitute for funding our NHS properly if we want to tackle this problem. Private hospitals don’t have A&Es,” he said.

“It’s time we stop diverting money to the wasteful private sector and resource our NHS properly.”

Mr Nwogbo pointed out that countries such as France, with a comparable population size to Britain and a smaller economy, spend about 1 per cent more per person on their health services.

“How are they able to do so while our politicians continue to pretend it’s not possible?” he asked.

Rishi Suank had pledged to eliminate waits of more than 18 months by April 2023.

Unison acting head of health Helga Pile said: “If the Prime Minister wants to meet his pledge, he must act over pay.

“Convening pay talks now so nurses, paramedics, cleaners, healthcare assistants and other NHS staff get their April pay rise on time would start to fill the NHS vacancies hole and ensure patients get seen much sooner.”

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