Alarming A&E Waiting Times


THE British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that a million more patients will face waits of more than four hours at accident and emergency departments by 2020.

New figures published by the BMA show the scale of the rise in waiting times in England.

Based on current projections over the next 12 months there will be:

• 23.8m attendances at A&E (an increase of 345,000 on the previous 12 months);

• 2.95m people waiting more than four hours at A&E (an increase of 370,000);

• A decrease of 1.3 per cent in performance on four-hour waits, which will average 87.6 per cent;

• 6m emergency admissions (an increase of 148,000);

• 815,000 trolley waits (an increase of 250,000);

• An average of 4.28m people waiting for treatment every month (an increase of 360,000).

• The average proportion of patients treated within 18 weeks will fall to 89.2 per cent, down from 90.1 per cent.

The analysis also shows that between October 2019 and September 2020 there will be:

• 24.5m A&E attendances (an increase of 1.1m from the previous 12 months);

• More than a million more patients waiting more than four hours (3.7m patients, up from 2.6m). This equates to an average of 84.8 per cent of patients being seen within four hours, down from 89 per cent;

• 6.3m emergency admissions in total (up from 5.9m);

• 1.7m trolley waits (up from 600,000);

• An average of 5.1m patients on the elective treatment waiting list (up from 3.9m).

Commenting on the findings, BMA chair of council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: ‘These alarming figures show the scale of the challenge facing the NHS. As demand increases and waiting times rise, many more patients are left waiting longer for care.

‘It is clear from this analysis that we need urgent action to close the gap between investment and rising demand on the NHS. With the Budget less than a month away the government needs to address the fact we spend about £10b less per year on health than other leading European economies.

‘Plugging this gap could fund for example another 35,000 hospital beds or 10,000 doctors, which could transform patient care. The NHS is one of the best health care systems in the world, but it can’t provide first class care on second class investment.’

• Public Health England is urging parents whose children have not yet been vaccinated against flu to do so before the winter flu season begins. For the first time, children in school year 4, along with children aged four and over in school years reception, 1, 2 and 3, can get their free flu vaccination, in the form of a nasal spray, in school.