A&E waiting times performance ‘is getting worse by the week’

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The NHS in England has missed its A&E target for two weeks running, new figures show.

The national target of seeing and treating, transferring or admitting 95 per cent of patients in four hours was missed for the last fortnight, new NHS England statistics show.

The figure, which includes all major A&Es, minor injuries units and walk-in centres, dipped to 93.8 per cent for the week ending September 7.

Meanwhile, the proportion of people seen in this time frame in major, or type 1, A&E departments, which deal with the most complex cases, stood at 90.9 per cent. This figure alone is not subject to any NHS targets but contributes to the overall figure.

The figures also show that 5,230 A&E patients who were deemed ill enough to be admitted to hospital waited between four and 12 hours before they were given a bed. Nine patients waited longer than 12 hours.

Barbara Hakin, national director for commissioning operations at NHS England, said: “We know our staff are doing everything to make sure patients are treated on time. A&E departments are under pressure but we are determined to maintain the high standards that the public rightly expect.

“The 95 per cent standard is measured on average over each quarter and this week’s result is a clear signal we must focus on maintaining performance as the weather starts to cool.”

Labour’s shadow health minister Jamie Reed said: “These figures should set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street - they are getting worse by the week and David Cameron is still in denial.What greater sign could there be of a struggling NHS than thousands of patients waiting hours on end for beds to become free? They are being badly let down.

“A&E departments already look like it’s the middle of winter. Ministers must put an end to this and ensure hospitals are safe.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said “the vast majority of people” were seen and treated quickly.

“We’re giving the NHS extra support to keep services sustainable year-round and in the long-term, we want to reduce demand by looking after people better in the community.”