Number of A&Es failing to hit targets rises

The number of NHS Trusts in England failing to meet target A&E waiting times has more than doubled in the last year, according to the regulator Monitor.

Between April and June, 31 Trusts failed to meet their target of seeing patients within four hours of their arrival.

This is a considerable increase since last year, where just 13 Trusts missed their waiting times commitment over the same period.

The regulator’s report also uncovered record levels of debt among Foundation Trusts: 48 are in deficit compared with 36 last year.

Jason Dorsett, financial risk and reporting director at Monitor, said: ‘Our analysis shows patients are still waiting too long at A&Es in a number of Foundation Trusts.

‘The increased demand has also prevented Trusts from delivering their planned financial savings.

‘We expect to see Trusts planning now for how the increased demand will impact on their finances, so they are not storing up trouble for the future.’

The effect of increased waiting times at A&Es on ambulance services has not gone unnoticed, as patients have been forced to wait up to eight hours in ambulances outside.

This has left ambulance services with no crew to send to life-threatening calls, thus placing patients at serious risk.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 25 September 2013.