Number of A&E patients seen within four-hour target hits record low

By Jemma Crew, PA Health and Science Correspondent

Increasing numbers of patients are waiting more than four hours to be seen at A&E departments, which also saw a record number of attendances and ambulance callouts in December.

Data from NHS England shows 79.8% of A&E patients were seen within four hours in November – the worst figure on record and set against a target of 95%.

The monthly performance statistics show there were 2,181,024 attendances last month – a 6.5% rise from December 2018.

This resulted in 4,307 extra attendances per day – the highest number on record.

(PA Graphics)

More than a fifth of people who attended emergency departments had to wait more than four hours to be seen, assessed and treated.

Some 98,452 patients waited more than four hours for a bed after a decision was made to admit them – 64.6% higher than December 2018.

Of these, 2,347 waited more than 12 hours – another record high and a 726.4% increase from the previous year.

Downing Street said winter was “always challenging” for the NHS.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the figures “represent a cry of despair from a service that is delivering remarkable care to millions of patients, but is under enormous pressure”.

Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “The NHS is struggling to escape its spiral of decline. With a record low in terms of four-hour performance and highest ever number of 12-hour waits, this will have been a miserable Christmas period for many patients and staff alike.”

Nuffield Trust chief economist Professor John Appleby said: “These would be dire performance figures for any December but what’s worrying is that we are still awaiting the truly cold winter weather that we know will plunge the NHS into further problems.”

Other figures said the repeated missing of targets seemed to have become “normalised”, and that their warnings had fallen on deaf ears.

Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “Sadly the failure to meet the access targets for years now seems to have been ‘normalised’ and appears to be routinely ignored or, perhaps worse, minor parts of the data spun for any positive effect that can be gained.

“The really depressing fact is that we have been warning the government and NHS leaders that this is happening time after time and feel our concerns have been largely ignored or marginalised.”

The British Medical Association called the winter figures “truly alarming”, and asked “How many wake-up calls does the Government need?”.

The GMB union said the struggles were “a direct result of a decade of Conservative Government”, calling for leaders to deliver a proper rescue plan.

(PA Graphics)

Reform think tank health policy lead, Claudia Martinez, said: “Getting A&E back on track means fixing the social care crisis and reforming our primary care system.

“With a large majority and a commitment to record investment, the Government has no excuse for inaction.

“Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. More cash without reform is doing just that.”

The NHS figures also show that ambulances attended 790,294 incidents in December – the busiest month on record and a 5.3% increase from the same month the previous year.

About 10,000 callouts were to the most serious, life-threatening cases – again the highest number recorded in a month and a rise of 16.6% from the previous year.

NHS chiefs urged people to get their flu jabs, warning the virus has struck early this winter (PA)

Overall in 2019, there were 1.2 million more attendances at A&Es than in 2018 – a 4.8% rise.

This is an increase of 14.2% in three years, according to NHS England.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “We have got more hospital beds open than last winter, but flu has come early and is around twice as high as this time last year.

“For the public there is still time to get your flu jab, and remember to use the free NHS 111 phone and online service and your local pharmacist.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Over two million people attended A&E last month, that means that dedicated staff cared for over 70,000 people every day – the highest ever for December.

“We have invested an extra £240 million in adult social care to get patients home quicker and an extra £1 billion for immediate hospital upgrades.

“Improving the NHS is a priority of the Prime Minister and a record cash boost worth £33.9 billion extra by 2023/24 is being enshrined in law by the Government.”

Away from emergency care, the estimated total waiting list for treatment, such as knee and hip replacements, is estimated to be 4.6 million people at the end of November.

Around 84% of those on the waiting list had been waiting less than 18 weeks, thus not meeting the 92% standard.

Cancer waiting time targets were also missed, with tens of thousands of people still experiencing delays in diagnosis and treatment.

  • This Morning's Ruth Langsford drops out of Friday's show
    News
    Digital Spy

    This Morning's Ruth Langsford drops out of Friday's show

    Here's who replaced her.

  • While Muslims are being murdered in India, the rest of the world is too slow to condemn
    News
    The Independent

    While Muslims are being murdered in India, the rest of the world is too slow to condemn

    On 9 to 10 November 1938 the German government encouraged its supporters to burn down synagogues and smash up Jewish homes, shops, businesses, schools. At least 91 Jews – and probably many more – were killed by Nazi supporters egged on by Joseph Goebbels, the minister for public enlightenment and propaganda, in what became known as Kristallnacht – “the Night of Broken Glass”. It was a decisive staging post on the road to mass genocide.On 23 February 2020 in Delhi, Hindu nationalist mobs roamed the streets burning and looting mosques together with Muslim homes, shops and businesses. They killed or burned alive Muslims who could not escape and the victims were largely unprotected by the police. At least 37 people, almost all Muslims, were killed and many others beaten half to death: a two-year-old baby was stripped by a gang to see if he was circumcised – as Muslims usually are, but Hindus are not. Some Muslim women pretended to be Hindus in order to escape.

  • Johnson shows again he can get away with stuff other PMs couldn’t
    News
    The Guardian

    Johnson shows again he can get away with stuff other PMs couldn’t

    Johnson shows again he can get away with stuff other PMs couldn’t. For a leader to holiday while floods hit the country isn’t normal, but ours believes in his own exceptionalism

  • Eddie Hearn reveals Anthony Joshua’s tactics to beat Tyson Fury and become undisputed heavyweight champion
    News
    The Independent

    Eddie Hearn reveals Anthony Joshua’s tactics to beat Tyson Fury and become undisputed heavyweight champion

    Eddie Hearn has detailed just how Anthony Joshua will go about beating Tyson Fury in what would be an undisputed world heavyweight title fight.With all the belts now residing in the UK after Fury’s victory over Deontay Wilder last week, clamour for the all-British super fight has grown.

  • Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world
    News
    The Guardian

    Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world

    Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the worldConfirmed cases of Covid-19 now span over 50 countries, with at least 2,800 deaths, all but 70 in mainland China – data correct at 23:33pm, 27 February * Coronavirus – live updates

  • Coronavirus Latest: 'Just A Matter Of Time' Until Covid-19 Spreads In UK, Chief Medical Officer Warns
    News
    HuffPost UK

    Coronavirus Latest: 'Just A Matter Of Time' Until Covid-19 Spreads In UK, Chief Medical Officer Warns

    An outbreak could close schools for two months and cancel sports events. And as global cases grow, share prices are now on track for the worst week since the 2008 crash.

  • Super Tuesday: Professor who predicted last 9 elections says Democrats could face first brokered convention in nearly 70 years
    News
    The Independent

    Super Tuesday: Professor who predicted last 9 elections says Democrats could face first brokered convention in nearly 70 years

    Days out from Super Tuesday, when voters in 14 states will cast ballots in the Democratic primary, a professor who predicted the past nine elections says that the United States may well be staring down its first brokered convention in nearly 70 years.It’s a prospect that has stirred considerable consternation among Democratic Party officials and voters, many of whom have said their primary concern is beating Donald Trump in November — even as an enthusiastic debate over the future of democratic politics has raged on the campaign trail.

  • Zimbabwe's president appeals for help to end country's 'financial isolation'
    News
    The Guardian

    Zimbabwe's president appeals for help to end country's 'financial isolation'

    Zimbabwe's president appeals for help to end country's 'financial isolation'. Emmerson Mnangagwa makes passionate plea for support as he targets upper middle-income status by 2030

  • Dubai's ruler loses appeal to stop publication of judgements in UK court battle with ex-wife
    News
    Reuters

    Dubai's ruler loses appeal to stop publication of judgements in UK court battle with ex-wife

    London's Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that two judgements in the legal battle between Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and his former wife over the wardship of their two children should be made public. Mohammed had said that the judgements of Andrew McFarlane, president of London's High Court Family Division, in the case involving Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordan's King Abdullah, were wrong in law and should not be publicised.

  • Female celebrities who proposed to their husbands, from Kristen Bell to Britney Spears
    News
    Evening Standard

    Female celebrities who proposed to their husbands, from Kristen Bell to Britney Spears

    This Leap Year, celebrate Leap Day the best way possible - either by watching the 30 Rock episode Leap Day, proposing to your significant other (if you're a lady) or reading about these celebrities who embraced the tradition and proposed to their own gentleman callers.Women are encouraged to propose to men on February 29 because of a tradition that is believed to have originated in Irish or Scottish folklore.

  • Weak domestic demand causes decline in UK car manufacturing
    News
    motor1

    Weak domestic demand causes decline in UK car manufacturing

    Domestic demand fell by almost a quarter in the first month of 2020.

  • In pictures: Aerial images reveal the extent of flood devastation as River Severn bursts its banks
    Yahoo News UK

    In pictures: Aerial images reveal the extent of flood devastation as River Severn bursts its banks

    Aerial pictures reveal the damage caused by flooding in the city of Worcester and the surrounding county of Worcestershire - with public spaces, sports grounds and residential areas submerged in water.The River Severn burst its banks after reaching its highest ever level of 5.77m (19ft) on Thursday after several nights of heavy rain - with more downfalls forecast across ‘ten days of difficulty’.New pictures show Worcestershire Country Cricket ground and several rugby and football pitches flooded, as well as a branch of McDonald’s turned into an island by surrounding flood water.The Herefordshire and Worcestershire Environment Agency said 500 tonnes of water – the equivalent to six HGVs – was flowing through the city every second.Meanwhile in Ironbridge a severe danger to life notification remains in place after dozens of residents were evacuated when flood barriers buckled under the force of the water.Several bridges and barriers are also due to be inspected by Shropshire Council over fears the floods have eroded them, as Storm Gorge - the third named storm of 2020 - approaches this weekend.

  • Pussycat Dolls’ Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway performance sparks 68 Ofcom complaints
    News
    Evening Standard

    Pussycat Dolls’ Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway performance sparks 68 Ofcom complaints

    Despite their efforts to poke fun at critics of their “raunchy” routines, Pussycat Dolls’ performance on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway has led to complaints.The five-piece have frequently faced criticism over their outfits and dance moves with their comeback performance on X Factor: Celebrity sparking over 400 Ofcom complaints last December.

  • Turkey hits 'all known' Syrian govt positions after soldiers killed in Idlib
    News
    France 24

    Turkey hits 'all known' Syrian govt positions after soldiers killed in Idlib

    The Turkish army retaliated with artillery fire at Syrian government targets in Syria after an airstrike killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers in the northwestern Idlib province, Turkish officials said on Friday.The United Nations on Thursday (New York time, GMT-4) called for urgent action in northwest Syria, warning that, "the risk of greater escalation grows by the hour.""The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate ceasefire and expresses particular concern about the risk to civilians from escalating military actions," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement."Without urgent action, the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour."'All known' targetsThe UN statement came as Turkey announced that "all known" Syrian government targets were under fire by Turkish air and land support units, according to state-run Anadolu news agency, quoting Turkey's communications director Fahrettin Altun on Friday. Turkey has decided to "respond in kind" to the attack by the Syrian government, Altun added.This announcement immediately after an air strike by Syrian regime forces against Turkish military in Idlib, as reported by Anadolu.Turkish officials gave a death toll of 33.After the attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held an extraordinary meeting on the situation in Idlib at his presidential complex in Ankara, attended by ministers and military officials.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. Stoltenberg condemned the strikes, according to a spokesman, describing them as "indiscriminate".The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a local monitor, gave a higher death toll, claiming 34 Turkish soldiers were killed.The deaths are the largest number of fatalities suffered by Turkish forces in a single day since Ankara started sending thousands of troops into Idlib in recent weeks in a bid to halt an advance by Syrian forces and their Russian allies.Russia and Turkey agreed in 2018 to create a demilitarised zone in Idlib in an accord that has since fallen through. Fighting in the northwestern Syrian province has sent hundreds of thousands of displaced people towards the Turkish border. Speaking in Washington, the US ambassador to NATO said Turkey should learn from clashes in Syria who its true friends are and drop its purchase from Russia of a major missile defence system. The Turks should see "who is their reliable partner and who isn't", Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters."They see what Russia is, they see what they're doing now, and if they are attacking Turkish troops, then that should outweigh everything else that is happening between Turkey and Russia," she added.No-fly zoneUS Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria's Idlib and called on President Donald Trump to help stop the killing of civilians there by Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran. "The world is sitting on its hands and watching the destruction of Idlib by Assad, Iran, and the Russians," Graham, a Republican and an ally of Trump, said in a statement. "I am confident if the world, led by the United States, pushed back against Iran, Russia, and Assad that they would stand down, paving the way for political negotiations to end this war in Syria." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have pushed hard in recent months to retake the last large rebel-held region in northwestern Syria after nine years of war that has displaced millions and killed hundreds of thousands. (FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

  • Gloucestershire police get 75 new Nissan electric vehicles
    News
    motor1

    Gloucestershire police get 75 new Nissan electric vehicles

    [Insert your own 'charge' joke here]...

  • Judge refuses to reconsider releasing secret Jeffrey Epstein-related documents
    News
    The Independent

    Judge refuses to reconsider releasing secret Jeffrey Epstein-related documents

    A federal judge has denied a motion that could have allowed the release of more than 1,000 documents related to the investigation of crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein and others.The motion, filed by the Miami Herald and investigative journalist Julie K. Brown, asked the judge to reconsider a previous decision to keep the files secret.

  • Greta Thunberg to climate activists in Bristol: We have to be the adults
    PA Media: Video

    Greta Thunberg to climate activists in Bristol: We have to be the adults

    Greta Thunberg has taken aim at officials and governments as she told thousands of climate activists that "they are behaving like children, so it falls on us to be the adults in the room". The 17-year-old activist was the headline speaker at The Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate on College Green in the city, which she said she chose to visit because the environmental movement there was "very strong".

  • Harry and Meghan to make first official appearance together since ‘Megxit’
    News
    PA Media: UK News

    Harry and Meghan to make first official appearance together since ‘Megxit’

    The duke and duchess have not been seen side-by-side in the UK since early January.

  • Rejected by Jamaica, Caymans over virus fears, cruise ship docks in Mexico
    News
    AFP

    Rejected by Jamaica, Caymans over virus fears, cruise ship docks in Mexico

    A cruise ship turned away from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu has docked in Mexico and passengers will be allowed to disembark as long as "health standards" are met, the country's president said Thursday.

  • In pictures: Stunning shortlisted entries to Agora Nature2020 competition show nature at its finest
    Yahoo News UK

    In pictures: Stunning shortlisted entries to Agora Nature2020 competition show nature at its finest

    Stunning photos shortlisted in the top 50 finalists of the Agora #Nature2020 photo competition show the natural world in all its glory.The photo app called for international photographers to submit their best nature shots for a chance to win $1,000 - and the finalists include entries from 24 countries.The breathtaking entries include a range of animals and settings: from a chameleon about to eat an insect and a camouflaged crocodile, to stunning waterfalls, baron deserts and thunder strikes.Agora's Nature photo competition saw more than 11,000 submissions from photographers around the world - with six British photographers making it through to the final 50.Agora users will vote for their favourite finalists through the free-to-use app.The winner will be announced on Wednesday March 4.

  • Bruno Tonioli: 'Strictly' same sex decision can’t be about ‘headline chasing’
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Bruno Tonioli: 'Strictly' same sex decision can’t be about ‘headline chasing’

    'Dancing On Ice' made history by pairing Ian “H” Watkins with professional skater Matt Evers.

  • 'The world is on fire,' Greta Thunberg tells UK climate rally
    News
    Reuters

    'The world is on fire,' Greta Thunberg tells UK climate rally

    Greta Thunberg denounced politicians and the media on Friday for ignoring a looming climate cataclysm, saying that they were failing her generation with their inaction in the face of a world on fire. Several thousand people attended a rally in the southwestern English city of Bristol to see Thunberg, the teenage activist who has reprimanded governments across the world over climate change. Known simply as Greta, 17-year-old Thunberg has captured the imagination of many young people with impassioned demands for world leaders to take urgent action.

  • Government tries to stop coronavirus panic as ten schools close
    Sky video

    Government tries to stop coronavirus panic as ten schools close

    Health secretary Matt Hancock has urged schools not to “overeact” to the coronavirus as he tried to quell panic closures.

  • 'Malcolm in the Middle' star Frankie Muniz marries longtime girlfriend
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    'Malcolm in the Middle' star Frankie Muniz marries longtime girlfriend

    The 'Malcolm in the Middle' actor wed Paige Price four years after their first meeting.

  • Biggest explosion ‘since Big Bang’ discovered by astronomers
    News
    PA Media: UK News

    Biggest explosion ‘since Big Bang’ discovered by astronomers

    The blast came from a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy 390 million light-years from Earth.