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Last year I wrote a blog about my experience in A&E and explored the government’s national A&E target to admit and/or treat 95% of patients within 4 hours . I was shocked to see how far the target was missed, and a year later, I’m getting a sense of Déjà vu….
Last year the target was missed by 6.1%, meaning an average of 88.9% of patients were seen and treated within 4 hours. Timing in any hospital department can be the difference between life and death, and this is especially the case in A&E. Timing can boil down to minutes, and even seconds, so these figures left me a bit worried but hopeful for change.
In October 2019, the 95% A&E target was missed by 11.4%. This means 83.6% of A&E patients were admitted or transferred within 4 hours- the lowest it’s been since 2004. To put that into perspective, 1 in 6 patients waited longer than 4 hours in A&E in England last month. You can see a full analysis of this in the report “A&E Attendance and Emergency Admissions- October 2019 Statistical Commentary” .
Unfortunately 2019 has been taken over by Brexit. Without getting too political (*bites tongue really hard*), Brexit has been the main priority (for what feels like an eternity) at the expense of what really matters. I strongly believe that the NHS has taken a huge hit as result of this neglect and, arguably, these statistics prove it - the lowest it’s been since 2004.
Some may argue it’s coincidental but it’s hard not to make the connection. With the election looming and the winter cold arriving, the fear grows not only for patients, but doctors and nurses who really feel the strain of being under-resourced and understaffed.
Again not to get too political (*still biting tongue really hard*) but what really annoys me is politicians are not acting to rectify this. It’s a matter of “if you let the other party in it would further cripple the NHS” instead of working together to help doctors and nurses reach these targets and help improve patient care and safety. The targets have been implemented to increase patient safety but with each year it is missed, the door swings wide open for mistakes and costly litigation. We have seen an upward trend on the number of cases and enquiries we get which relates to negligence due to delays in A&E, and I fear this will only increase.
I ended my last blog by saying funding our NHS is not a priority. In ending this blog, in the wake of possible political change, maybe Brexit will be a forgotten word and we can finally remember the NHS.
Satvir Sokhi specialises in clinical negligence and has experience of working with clients who have sustained a range of injuries, including brain injuries, injuries arising from birth, orthopaedic injuries and gastrointestinal injuries.
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