Jeremy Hunt finally says sorry as NHS patients suffer 'worst ever' winter

Hospital wait

Hospital wait

The national average is 85.3% for four waiting times, which higher than December 2017 and January a year ago.

"We continue to see the vast majority of patients within four hours with 88% of people seen within this time in the third quarter of 2017-18", a spokesperson said, adding that 2,000,449 people attended an A&E in January - 5.5% more than during the same month a year ago.

All of the four hospital trusts in Kent failed to see 95% of A&E patients within four hours of them arriving in January.

The crisis for NHS does not seem to end.

The figure was considerably short of the 95% target, but still an improvement on the 85.1% from December.

Her mother, Sharon, 53, said: "We knew that if you just have a cold, they don't want you in A&E because you could pass more germs on or could waste their time but I would..."

A spokesperson for NHS England said: "Despite the worst flu season in seven years, A&E performance improved this month".

"There's no more graphic illustration of how tough this winter has been for NHS patients and staff than the fact that last month, over 81,000 people going to A&E had to wait more than four hours for a bed in the hospital - the worst figure on record", she added. It is deeply concerning that 12 months on the position has worsened, with many harrowing reports of patients being treated in busy corridors by stressed and overworked staff.


"All of this points to the need for a long-term funding settlement for the NHS and social care to be reached - one that enables local care services to deliver the standards that patients deserve".

Type 1 departments see close to 70% of patients and include most large hospital emergency departments where the most seriously ill patients are taken. But Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the Nuffield Trust think-tank, said the health service was "creaking at the seams".

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the figures demonstrate how the NHS does "not now have a sustainable model" to cope during the busy winter months when illnesses such as flu and norovirus are more prevalent.

It comes after last month's accident and emergency waiting time targets had the second lowest result on record.

Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine, said in a statement: "The last six weeks has seen the acute services of the NHS under a sustained period of stress due to "normal" winter pressures along with a surge in influenza".

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also said Thursday's statistics exposed the "hollow nature" of the Government's claim it was "sufficiently prepared" for winter.

Jeremy Hunt has admitted the NHS is experiencing "probably the worst" winter crisis ever, but suggested staff knew what to expect when they signed up.

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