Patient deaths in A&E third higher than before pandemic

The figures obtained and analysed by Labour relate to responses received from 62 NHS trusts in England, which were then extrapolated out to relate to all 124 acute trusts.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has previously said 23,000 “excess patient deaths” may have occurred due to long A&E waits in England in 2022.

It warned that long waiting times can have “catastrophic consequences for patient safety and mortality”.

A study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal found every 82 patients delayed 6-8 hours in A&E corresponds to one extra death within 30 days.

Labour has vowed to cut A&E waits for patients as part of its mission to reform the NHS for the future.

NHS ‘broken’

Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “People turning to the NHS in an emergency should know they will be seen and treated before it’s too late. The Conservatives’ failure over 13 years to properly staff or reform the NHS has a cost in lives.

“When Labour was last in government, patients in an emergency were treated in good time. It took 13 years for the Conservatives to break the NHS – it won’t be fixed overnight. But it will be the mission of the next Labour government to build an NHS that is there for you when you need it once again.”

Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, admitted in January that the pre-pandemic four-hour target was no longer achievable.

As part of its attempts to improve urgent and emergency care, the Government established the less ambitious interim goal that by March 2024, 76 per cent of A&E patients would be dealt with in four hours. The official target is 95 per cent.

A&E departments had more than 25.1 million attendances in 2022, compared with 22.7 million in 2021, 18.7 million in 2020 and 25.6 million in 2019.

Maria Caulfield, a health minister, pointed to the fact that the NHS in Wales has consistently failed to meet its waiting times targets under a Labour government.

“Meanwhile, we are delivering a record number of tests, speeding up discharge from hospitals, and cutting waiting lists as we also work to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, and stop the boats,” she said.

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