A&E units fail to meet key access target for 21st week in a row

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A&E units in England failed to meet the target to treat 95 per cent of patients within four hours for the 21st week in a row.

NHS England said 92 per cent of patients spent four hours or less from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge in the week ending last Sunday, an increase from 91.6 per cent a week earlier.

The improved waiting times coincided with a drop in A&E attendances to 406,200. This was down from 420,700 the previous week, when the level of admissions reached its highest levels since the peak seen at Christmas.

The worst performance in Yorkshire continued to be at the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS trust where 75.9 per cent of patients were seen within the target time, the fifth worst performance in the country but an improvement on recent weeks.

Other NHS trusts to miss the target included Harrogate, York, South Tees, Mid Yorkshire, Sheffield teaching hospitals, Doncaster and Bassetlaw, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole and Chesterfield.

Labour claimed new figures revealed numbers of cases of bed blocking per month have almost doubled under the coalition Government, at a cost of almost £287 million in the past year alone.

Shadow care and older people’s minister Liz Kendall said: “These appalling figures show the scale of the crisis in care that has developed under this Government.

“Increasing numbers of frail, elderly people are reaching crisis point, ending up in A&E and getting stuck in hospital. This could be avoided if they had the right care and support in the community or at home. Instead, this Government has slashed social care, which is bad for elderly people and their families, and costs the taxpayer far more.”