Across England, more than 30,000 patients each week now wait too long to be seen in local A&E departments – an increase of more than 50 per cent on the same period last year.
For the first time, Labour Party analysis of official NHS England data names the A&E departments where performance deteriorated most significantly in the last 12 months. Some hospitals have seen ten-fold increases in the number of patients waiting too long - a drop in standards hidden by headline national figures.
The NHS expects patients to be seen, treated, dismissed or admitted within four hours and the Government target is for this standard to be reached for 95 per cent of patients. Yet hospitals around the country fail to achieve that target for rapidly growing numbers of patients.
Similarly, for patients admitted to hospital after visiting A&E, twice as many now wait on trolleys for as long as 12 hours for a bed due to the shortage of available space on the wards.
At Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, the number of patients waiting over 4 hours to be seen in A&E has almost doubled in a year - from 54 patients during the second week of April 2014 to 103 during the same week in April 2015.
To tackle the Tory NHS crisis, Ed Miliband this week set out an NHS Rescue Plan for Labour’s first 100 days in office. It includes putting significant resources from a mansion tax into the NHS this year; an emergency recruitment round for nurses to get 1,000 more into training this year; and kick starting early planning to avoid another winter crisis in hospitals with GPs stationed in all A&E departments and more clinically-trained staff on the NHS 111 advice line.
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich, David Ellesmere said: "This increase in A&E waiting times is deeply worrying, and the £12million deficit in the Trust's finances mean that without Labour's fully-funded Rescue Plan things will go from bad to worse."
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:
“These figures reveal a worrying slump in A&E performance in the last 12 months and lay bare the scale of the crisis the NHS is facing. Under David Cameron, A&Es across England are operating at their very limits and too many have clearly gone beyond them.
“He caused this A&E crisis by making it harder to get a GP appointment, cutting care budgets to the bone and wasting £3 billion on a damaging reorganisation. If he gets back in, extreme Tory spending cuts mean they can’t protect the NHS and the crisis in A&E will get even worse.
“Labour is the only Party facing up to it, with a fully-funded Rescue Plan. We will ease pressure on over-stretched A&Es by recruiting 20,000 more nurses and giving people a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours.”