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A&E target worst level in a decade

Published 07/04/2015

Accident and emergency departments have missed their target for the year
Accident and emergency departments have missed their target for the year

The proportion of patients seen within four hours at A&E departments in England has dropped to its worst level in a decade.

NHS England figures show that 92% of patients spent four hours or less from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge in the week ending March 29 - the 26th week in a row it has failed to meet the 95% target.

The average for the fourth quarter of the year - from January to March - was just 91.8%.

Labour said this was the worst on record since the first quarter of 2004.

Last month the Department of Health confirmed the NHS has failed to meet its target every week of the winter, meaning the average for the whole year has not been met.

The target has not been hit since the week ending September 28.

Labour said 113,648 people waited longer than four hours on trolleys in A&E from January to March, while 983 spent more than 12 hours.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "After five years of David Cameron, A&E waits are at their worst level for a decade and patients are finding it harder and harder to see a GP.

"There's only one person to blame for the A&E crisis and that's David Cameron. He has made it harder to get a GP appointment, cut council social care budgets and wasted £3 billion on a reorganisation that nobody wanted and nobody voted for.

"If David Cameron gets back in, his extreme spending cuts mean he can't protect the NHS and the crisis in A&E will get even worse.

"Labour has a better plan for the NHS. We will recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, paid for by a mansion tax on homes valued over £2 million, and we will guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: "A&E units across the UK faced unprecedented demand this winter, but English A&Es see 3,000 more patients a day within four hours than in 2009, and perform better than Scotland, Northern Ireland and Labour-run Wales, so it is completely wrong for Labour to try to turn this into a political football.

"Thanks to a strong and growing economy, we are investing £2 billion in the front line next year to transform care in the community and take the pressure off hospitals."

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