The NHS has recorded a new record low in Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting times since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004, according to latest performance statistics.
In November, only 81.4 per cent of the total patients were admitted or treated in four hours – well below the target 95 per cent.
A record number of 88,923 patients waited more than four hours from decision to admit to hospital admission, with 1,112 among them having to wait more than twelve hours.
The total number of attendances admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours was 1.6 million.
Commenting on the figures, The King’s Fund chief executive Richard Murray called on the new Conservative government to make good on its promises to focus on the ailing health and care services.
“Winter has only just begun, and the NHS is already stretched to breaking point. Increasing levels of flu and chronic staff shortages exacerbated by the ongoing pension crisis point to a torrid few months for the health service,” he said.
As the target of 95 per cent was last met in July 2015, the Kings Fund pointed out that only seven out of 10 patients attending major A&E departments were seen within the four-hour time target last month.
“The new government made a series of promises to invest in NHS buildings and equipment, recruit and retain more staff and develop a plan for reforming social care. These performance figures underline just how urgently the new government needs to act on these pledges,” Murray said.
Nuffield Trust’s Nigel Edwards called the latest statistics as an “immediate reminder” to Boris Johnson “of the grim winter his Government faces in the English NHS”.
“To tackle this, the new Government really will need to deliver the 50,000 nurses promised – even if this means more reliance on migrants than they’ve said. We need a long-term commitment to funding for NHS infrastructure, not one-off announcements. And we need to finally see the overhaul of England’s failing social care system that has been pledged so many times.” Edwards said.