THE FULL impact of cuts to health budgets is revealed today as figures show the number of patients left waiting hours for urgent care in Yorkshire hospitals has increased eight fold in some cases.
Over the last 12 months hospitals nationally and across Yorkshire have seen their A&E departments increasingly struggle to cope with a rise in those turning to emergency care, thought to be as a result of cuts to social care and overworked GPs.
These figures lay bare the scale of the crisis the NHS is facing.Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham
Among the worst hit has been Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where the number of patients waiting more than four hours to be seen in A&E increased from 85 patients during the second week of April 2014 to 660 during the same week in April 2015.
At Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust staff have had to cope with another demand on services as the number of patients left on a trolley in A&E between increased.
Patients waiting for a ward bed for between four to 12 hours increased from 10 during the second week of April 2014 to what Labour’s shadow health spokesman Andy Burnham said was a “staggering” 478 patients during the same week in April 2015.
The number of patients waiting over four hours just to been seen increased seven-fold in a year - from 98 patients 740.
And at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the number of patients waiting over four hours in A&E to been seen has more than trebled in a year - from 191 patients during the second week of April 2014 to 599 during the same week in April 2015.
Mr Burnham said the Labour party would seek to solve the problem with its £2.5bn Time to Care fund, hiring 20,000 more nurses and providing more care at home.
There was however no commitment to finding the full £8bn a year identified by Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, as vital to keeping the service going.
Asked how soon a Labour government would be able to turn around the pressure facing A&E departments, Mr Burnham said increasing training places could relieve pressure quickly, but agreed “it will not be possible to turn the oil tanker around quickly”.
He added: “These figures reveal a worrying slump in A&E performance in the last 12 months and lay bare the scale of the crisis the NHS is facing.
Labour released the figures as Ed Miliband addressed an NHS rally in Leeds as the party base its campaign around the health service.
A spokesman for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “This winter has been extremely busy for hospital Trusts across the country, and locally we have also experienced pressures across our services, including an increase in the complexity of care needs people have been presenting with.”
The Conservatives have linked the fate of the NHS to the economy, repeatedly insisting that a strong recovery will pay for the £8bn a year it insists it can find in the next parliament.