NHS A&E wards face worst winter ever, says top doctor

Labour says hospitals are 'already sailing dangerously close to the wind, and that is before the winter has even started'

A top emergency doctor has warned of the worst winter ever for the NHS's emergency wards, after figures revealed a huge increase in patients facing long waits since 2011.

Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency Doctors, which represents A&E medics, said recent NHS England figures for waiting times were a "cause for grave concern".

The figures show the number of patients waiting more than four hours in emergency rooms has jumped by 43 per cent since September 2011 and the number of "trolley waits" of four to 12 hours is up 89 per cent since then.

Mann told The Guardian: "All the worrying indicators are up already. And they seem to indicate that this winter will probably be worse than last winter, which was the worst we have ever had, a tipping point for the NHS's delivery of acute care.

"It's not chaos in emergency departments, but it is a crisis. Colleagues at hospitals report that there are almost daily instances in most A&E departments of patients facing extended trolley waits."

The figures show that waiting times this summer eclipsed those during recent winter months, when things are usually worse. For example, 17,037 waited more than four hours during a single week in mid-August, compared with 16,479 during a week in mid-January 2011.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham accused ministers of leaving the service "on the brink of its most dangerous winter in years."

He said: "These worrying new figures expose the intense pressure that England's A&Es and hospitals are under. Too many are already sailing dangerously close to the wind, and that is before the winter has even started."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We know the NHS is under increasing pressure, but A&E departments have still been seeing 95 per cent of their patients within four hours since the end of April. This is testament to the hard work of staff.

"More work needs to be done, so we are investing £500 million over the next two years to help A&E departments through winter. Longer term, our £3.8 billion integration fund will focus on joining up health and care services, keeping people healthier and treating them closer to home."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk