UK emergency disaster: Horrible 12-hour waits ‘mean thousands don’t seek help’

The ‘dire’ state of the A&Es was exposed in fascinating detail today with data showing that England is doing the worst in Britain.

That’s despite patients in Labour-run Wales typically facing the longest delays over the past decade.

More than 40 percent of patients who attend an accident in England wait at least four hours before they can be seen – the equivalent of around 900,000 per month.

It marks a fivefold increase in the space of a decade, illustrating the scale of the crisis that has seen patients forced to sleep on the floor or sit on trolleys in hospital corridors waiting for a bed.

Experts fear the situation will only get worse as the ailing NHS is stuck in an ‘eternal winter’ amid staff shortages and unprecedented demand.

The same analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also found that England’s A&E units are the quietest.

In September 2023 it recorded 13.6 visitors per 1,000 people – half the number in Northern Ireland (29). Scotland and Wales, meanwhile, both reported 20.8.

Attendance dropped during the pandemic as patients were unable to go to emergency rooms in case they became infected with Covid.

Interest rates in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have risen to pre-Covid levels, but those in England are still far behind.

Experts speculated that the fiendish wait in emergency rooms may have prevented thousands of patients from seeking care.

Dennis Reed of Silver Voices, which campaigns for older Britons, told MailOnline: ‘These statistics show that relatively fewer patients are attending A&E in England than in other British countries, but waiting times are longer.

‘NHS England should explain the reasons for this.

“It could be hundreds of thousands of people waiting longer than 12 hours, people not going to the hospital at all and trying to treat themselves, or people going through the emergency department door and seeing how long the wait is. the monitors and immediately turn them on their heels.”

He added: ‘At all levels of the NHS it is becoming harder to access the level of care required and as a result we are becoming a sicker country.’

Dr. Tim Cooksley, former president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: ‘Every winter over the past decade, especially within emergency care, has gotten slightly worse.

‘That trend has resulted in a dire situation that has not yet stopped, let alone shown any signs of reversal.

“At the heart of the crisis remains the fact that there is insufficient staff and capacity to meet the demands of an increasingly aging population with multiple health problems – issues that we and many others have consistently raised in recent years.

‘There is no resilience to cope with the excessive stress caused by the highly predictable storms we see occurring in what is now commonly referred to as an ‘eternal winter’ in the NHS.”

He added: ‘High staff absenteeism, burnout and low morale are a constant within the NHS, with high death rates and increasing numbers of patients waiting more than twelve hours in A&E illustrating the problem.

“The solutions are neither simple nor quick, and it will take at least a decade before we can deliver high-quality acute care again.”

Meanwhile, Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told MailOnline: ‘This data shows clearly and starkly how bad things have become over the past decade for patients presenting to A&E, and for those who work there.

‘Far too many people have to stay too long. A long stay is not only inconvenient or annoying, but also harmful, especially for the elderly.

Steven Wells (pictured sleeping on the floor at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent) had to wait 45 hours in A&E after he started vomiting blood and was forced to sleep on the floor in November while he waited to be admitted

The 31-year-old forklift driver (pictured sleeping on the floor at William Harvey Hospital) said: 'It really looked like a war zone at times.  It makes me not want to go back to the hospital because the last time was so traumatic and embarrassing.  “You have people looking down on you, stepping all over you, and all you want is to just be taken care of.”

The 31-year-old forklift driver (pictured sleeping on the floor at William Harvey Hospital) said: ‘It really looked like a war zone at times. It makes me not want to go back to the hospital because the last time was so traumatic and embarrassing. “You have people looking down on you, stepping all over you, and all you want is to just be taken care of.”

‘More and more emergency department staff report that in addition to assessing newcomers, they also have to care for people who need to be admitted.

‘This causes further delays for patients and intolerable working conditions for staff.

“Our emergency care system is there to make people better, but the current situation is actually making people sicker.”

England saw the biggest increase in the number of patients waiting at least four hours in the past decade, the ONS data shows.

In 2013, rates were 8.1 percent, but rose to 42.4 percent in September last year.

By comparison, Scotland saw interest rates rise from 11.7 percent in 2013 to 33.5 percent in 2023, while Wales recorded an increase from 15.6 percent to 40.5 percent.

However, from January 2013 to August 2022, four-hour waiting times were higher every month in Labour-run Wales than in England.

Liberal Democrat health and social care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP warned that patients are being forced ‘through endless waits’.

She added: “This Conservative government has brought our healthcare system to its knees.

‘They have ignored the needs of patients, allowed hospital buildings to crumble and proven themselves completely unfit to run our NHS.

‘Inexplicably they are refusing to cancel their planned cuts to the NHS budget.

‘Our healthcare must be at the heart of the government’s priorities, and not allowed to simply fall apart.’

Healthcare services operating in the three countries all follow policy guidelines stating that every effort should be made to transfer or admit patients requiring a period of observation, assessment or recovery to appropriate facilities, if available – at which point the waiting time counts. ‘ stops.

But no such policy exists in Northern Ireland, meaning the country cannot be directly compared to the rest of Britain.

Becky Tinsley, deputy director at the ONS, said the report was aimed at ‘making it easier to understand health data from across the UK’ and helping create ‘a joined-up statistical picture’.

She added: ‘This does not mean that we are developing a one-size-fits-all approach to data across the four countries.

“We understand that there are differences in policies, infrastructure and processes that may impact data collection and our ability to make comparisons.

‘There are also other factors that are important to consider, such as differences in the age of each country’s population, which affect people’s health and result in different healthcare demands.