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Elderly put pressure on A&Es, says Cameron

By Sam Lister

David Cameron has admitted the NHS is under "pressure" after waiting times in accident and emergency departments in England plummeted to their worst levels in more than a decade.

Health professionals warned of a crisis in the health service after records showed just 92.6% of patients were seen within four hours - below the 95% target.

The Prime Minister said a lot of the pressure on emergency departments comes from frail, elderly people but insisted that around 2,500 more patients were being seen within four hours every day than four years ago.

"We've got a short-term pressure issue which we need to meet with resources and management," he told the BBC.

"We've got a longer-term issue which is making sure that there are named GPs in your local area which are responsible for every single frail, elderly person.

"A lot of the pressure on A&E is coming from frail, elderly people, often with many different health conditions and the best place for them, frankly, is not A&E.

"They should be being looked after by the family doctor or in other health settings and I think the long-term challenge is to make sure those sorts of settings are more available."

Mr Cameron accused the union Unison or trying to "scaremonger" after it claimed the NHS was "on the brink of disaster".

He added: "I don't think it's remotely true or remotely responsible.

"The fact is the NHS is coping with a huge amount."

The BMA warned that records showed the "unprecedented levels of pressure" on the health service and the Royal College of Nursing said the system was in "crisis".

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