‘Massive spike’ in long A&E waits highlights crisis facing North-East NHS

A nursing union has highlighted the “crisis” facing the North-East NHS by publishing details of what it calls a “massive spike” in long accident and emergency waits in the last four years.

The figures from the Royal College of Nursing contrast the small numbers of long A&E waits in the week ending May 8 in 2011 with the same week this year.

They show that at six out of eight North-East accident and emergency units the number of patients who had to wait between four and 12 hours from the decision to admit to actual admissions had rocketed between 2011 and 2015.

In 2011 only 15 patients had to wait between four and 12 hours until they were admitted – but by 2015 this figure had risen to 141.

The largest rise was seen at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where the number facing long waits for admission to A&E rose from eight in 2011 to 47 this year.

The second highest figure was recorded at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust where the number facing long waits to be admitted rose from zero to 37.

At the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the number facing long waits jumped from six in 2011 to 14 in the corresponding week this year.

 Glenn Turp, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“This is nothing short of a crisis in A&E. If anybody tries to tell you that the NHS is not feeling the strain, then frankly they are living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Mr Turp added: “What this basically tells you is that, without significant extra funding from central government, our beloved NHS simply will not be able to cope in the future.”

A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust said:

“Pressure on A&E departments has increased significantly since 2011 as reflected in these figures.

“We have taken a number of steps to improve the patient’s experience in our A&E departments, and to reduce waiting times.

“There is more to be done, which is why we have announced plans to extend the A&E departments at Darlington Memorial and University Hospital of North Durham.”

Source –  Northern Echo, 12 May 2015

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