Latest NHS figures reveal the grim reality of waiting times in hospitals across the country – with tens of thousands of patients waiting over 12 hours in A&E last month alone
New data reveals the grim reality of waiting times in UK hospitals – with tens of thousands of people stuck waiting more than 12 hours in A&E last month alone.
A total of 54,308 patients in NHS departments across England waited 12 hours to be admitted to A&E in the month of January, according to the latest data from the NHS.
It marks the second highest number on record for patient waiting times behind figures from December 2022, which saw 54,573 people having to wait over 12 hours. The figures come despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisting cutting waiting lists was a top priority for 2023.
January also recorded a 23% rise in the number of people waiting more than 12 hours from a decision to admit to being admitted, compared to the previous month when there were 44,045.
In the first January under the Tories, 2011, only 17 people in the whole of England had to wait over 12 hours in A&E. By 2015 that had risen to 650 people, 38 times greater than in 2011. A&E attendances in that time had only increased by 0.25%.
In January 2020 it had risen again to 2,847 people, 167 times greater than when the Tories came to power. A&E attendances increased by 22% in that time.
January 2023’s number of patients waiting over 12 hours works out as 320 times greater than January 2011, with A&E attendances increasing by 29% in that time.
Figures also reveal that only around half (55.4%) of people attending major “Type 1” A&E departments had a wait of under four hours between arrival and a decision to admit, transfer or discharge.
Type 1 A&E centres typically have a consultant led 24-hour service with full resuscitation facilities and designated accommodation for the reception of accident and emergency patients. It is designed to treat patients with urgent illnesses from minor injuries to life-threatening conditions.
The amount of time spent on waiting lists was also found to have increased, reaching its highest levels outside of the pandemic.
The median time spent on waiting lists was 15.0 weeks in December, according to the latest figures from the NHS. That’s up from 14.4 weeks the previous December, and just 8.3 weeks in December 2019, the last one before the pandemic.
The average wait got as high as 19.6 weeks in July 2020. That’s the highest on record, but was around the time of the end of the first lockdown. Despite the increase in waiting time, the size of the waiting list actually fell slightly in December, where there were a total of 7.60 million people compared with 7.61 million in November.