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A&E chiefs warn PM that patients are dying in corridors

Furious A&E chiefs have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that patients are ‘dying prematurely’ in hospital corridors.

A leaked letter, written by the bosses of 60 casualty units, reveals there are ‘serious concerns’ about patient safety amid the NHS’ worst winter on record. 

Chiefs warned just 45 per cent of patients had been seen within four hours in some A&E units during last week – well below recommended levels.

The strongly-worded letter also revealed how levels were ‘never higher than 75 per cent’. The Government time-target is 95 per cent.   

Their revelation, seen by HSJ, mirrors figures released by NHS England today which showed waiting times have reached their worst on record.

Fears have been raised that the problems will only worsen, amid the rapid spread of flu which some expect to be the worst outbreak in 50 years.

Names on the scathing letter, dated yesterday, included some of the bosses of the biggest and busiest casualty units across the country.

A leaked letter, written by the bosses of 60 casualty units, reveals there are ‘serious concerns’ about patient safety amid the NHS’ worst winter on record (stock)

They included: Cambridge University Hospitals, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Kings College Hospital and Central Manchester University Hospitals. 

They warned the NHS is ‘chronically underfunded’ and not prepared for the winter onslaught, now considered to be the worst recorded in recent history.

The letter read: ‘It has been stated that the NHS was better prepared for this winter than ever before.

‘There is no question that a huge amount of effort and energy has been spent both locally and nationally on drawing up plans for coping with NHS winter pressures.

‘Our experience at the frontline is that these plans have failed to deliver anywhere near what was needed.

‘The fact remains however that the NHS is severely and chronically underfunded. 

‘We have insufficient hospital and community beds and staff of all disciplines especially at the front door to cope with our ageing population’s health needs.’

It continued: ‘We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.

‘The current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.

Furious A&E chiefs have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that patients are 'dying prematurely' in hospital corridors

Furious A&E chiefs have warned Prime Minister Theresa May that patients are ‘dying prematurely’ in hospital corridors

HOW BAD IS THE NHS CRISIS? 

AMBULANCE DELAYS

Separate figures released by the NHS today also show the number of patients being forced to wait at least an hour in ambulances has risen.

More than 5,000 patients were forced to wait in the back of the emergency vehicles for at least an hour to be seen by over-stretched A&E staff.

Some 16,600 people were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes in ambulances to be seen by staff at A&E over the first week of January.

Usually, it should take up to 15 minutes to transfer patients from an ambulance into hospital. Delays can happen when there isn’t enough A&E staff to take the patient.

BED OCCUPANCIES

The overall bed occupancy rate sits at 95 per cent – well above the recommended safe levels of 85 per cent, according to data from all 137 trusts in England.

This is a significant jump on the figure recorded for the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, when it sat at 91.7 per cent. 

Figures showed 24 hospital trusts had no free beds on at least one day during the latest week, starting New Year’s Day and ending January 7.

Some 13 trusts scattered across the country were completely full on New Year’s Day – roughly a tenth of hospitals across the NHS in England. 

A&E WAITING TIMES

More than 300,000 patients were forced to wait for at least four hours in all A&E units – the highest amount since figures began in 2010.

This is a 35 per cent jump in the space of a week, the figures revealed.  

Just 77.3 per cent of patients at major casualty units were seen in December within the four-hour time target – the safe limit set by the Government. 

The statistics showed that for all A&E units, 85.1 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour period – equaling last January’s record low. 

The target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours has not been met since July 2015.

‘Last week’s four hour target was between 45 and 75 per cent. Thousands of patients are waiting in ambulances for hours as the hospitals lack adequate space.’ 

The letter comes as NHS England data today showed the health service is operating at a poorer level than last year – which was branded a ‘humanitarian crisis’. 

WHAT DID THE FULL LETTER SAY?

It has been stated that the NHS was better prepared for this winter than ever before.

There is no question that a huge amount of effort and energy has been spent both locally and nationally on drawing up plans for coping with NHS winter pressures.  

Our experience at the frontline is that these plans have failed to deliver anywhere near what was needed.

The fact remains however that the NHS is severely and chronically underfunded. 

We have insufficient hospital and community beds and staff of all disciplines especially at the front door to cope with our ageing population’s health needs.

We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.

The current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.

Last week’s four hour target was between 45 and 75 per cent. Thousands of patients are waiting in ambulances for hours as the hospitals lack adequate space.

Alarming statistics, collected from between New Year’s Day and January 7, showed ambulance delays and bed occupancy levels had both risen.

More than 5,000 patients were left stuck in the back of ambulances waiting to be transferred to A&E – the highest total noted this winter.

The overall bed occupancy rate sits at 95 per cent – well above the recommended safe levels of 85 per cent, according to data from all 137 trusts in England

While more than 300,000 patients were forced to wait for at least four hours in all A&E units – the highest amount since figures began in 2010.

The ‘disappointing’ figures have been escalating rapidly in the past few weeks, with the crisis now at the forefront of a political row over funding.

Mrs May and Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt have apologised amid the crisis, which has seen furious medics beg for extra funding to cope.

NHS Providers – the trade body which represents NHS services – has called for the Government to commit to increasing the NHS budget to £153 billion by 2022/23.

Bosses have also warned the health service is in the midst of a ‘watershed moment’ because it cannot currently deliver required levels of care.

Officials slammed the latest figures, which came a week after an unprecedented move by health chiefs to cancel 55,000 operations. 

A&E staff have spoke of their grave concerns of the ‘battlefield’ conditions they have faced this winter, revealing they are ‘ashamed’ over the ‘substandard care’.  



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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