NHS fails to meet A&E target for 23rd week

The NHS has failed to meet its target of 95 per cent of patients waiting four hours or less at A&E units in England every week of the winter, final figures have revealed.

The shortfall means that for the first time the standard for the whole year will not be met.

The proportion of patients spending four hours or less from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge has not reached the 95 per cent target since the week ending September 28 - 23 weeks in a row.

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NHS England said this winter has seen an unprecedented demand on A&E services, with two weeks in December having the two highest attendance figures ever recorded for a winter period.

The highest peak was seen before Christmas, in the week ending December 21, when there were 446,000 attendances - up by 9.3 per cent year-on-year.

Altogether there were more than seven million attendances from November to February - an increase of 190,000 on the same period last year.

Latest figures show of 16 trusts serving the region, only seven met the 95 per cent target in the seven days to last Sunday. The Hull and East Yorkshire trust is the third worst performing in England.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “David Cameron has lost control of the things in the NHS that matter most to the public. He caused the A&E crisis by systematically dismantling GP services and elderly care and the result has been a devastating surge in patients coming to hospital A&E departments across England. The NHS as we know it can’t survive another five years of the Tories’ failing plan.”

The Department of Health said: “We know the NHS is busier than ever before and despite missing the A&E standard for the year, over nine out of 10 patients are being seen, treated and discharged within four hours. We’ve given a record £700 million this winter for almost 800 more doctors, 4,700 more nurses and 6,400 more beds and are backing the NHS’ long-term plan, which focuses on joining up care and doing more to prevent illness.”