Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

A&E target missed for first time this winter


The health service has failed to meet the accident and emergency waiting target for seeing 95% of patients within four hours for the first week this winter.

The latest figures from NHS England, published today, show only 94.8% of all A&E patients were treated, discharged or admitted within the required four hours. In previous weeks this winter, the 95% target has been met.

The figures for type 1 A&E incidents – the category for serious incidents - show a fall-off from 94% during last month to 92.2% in the latest week’s data.

Several trusts’ type 1 performance has fallen below 80%, with University Hospitals of Leicester Trust seeing only 73% of patients within four hours and Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust only 78.4%.

Mid Staffordshire Hospital University Trust’s performance has improved from 76.8% to 85.7% in the most recent figures, which cover last week.

NHS England deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin attributed the drop in performance to an increase in attendances and emergency admissions. She said: “It is of course disappointing that any patient has to wait longer than they should in A&E however we are now seeing many more patients than ever before.

“Last week was the busiest so far this year, with 415,400 attendances and 105,800 emergency admissions - the highest number of emergency admissions since we started collecting data in November 2010.”

Dame Barbara added: “Every year we see a dip in the figures for December, with week on week variations which is why we fully assess how local systems are coping with winter pressures over a longer period.

“The number of emergency admissions has been consistently high now for the past three weeks, and is in line with the emerging trend which has seen a 31% rise in number of people needing emergency admission to hospital over the last 10 years.”

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.


Readers' comments (26)

  • Concerning, but not unexpected. Until the GPs have been sorted out and we have decent OOHs primary care provision the picture will stay the same.

    Once people have an option other than attending A&E, I believe things will improve dramatically.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 16-Dec-2013 3:06 pm

    but will the issue of offering alternative facilities really be resolved or just continue to be talked about in the media? It seems more severe in some locations than others.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 16-Dec-2013 9:00

    I dislike this this culture of almost blaming people for attending A&E when often, people quite literally have nowhere else to go. It's like blaming people for travelling by car in areas where there is no bus service. It's pointless until you sort the underlying problem out. Until we create that second option, A&E attendances will continue to rise.

    With dynamic changes to the GP contract -using a 'carrot and stick' approach to funding - I believe GPs could take a significant amount of traffic from A&E departments.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I thought the NHS were dropping this silly managerial notion of targets to focus on the patients and meeting their presenting needs instead. With all the government and media attention, isn't it now time for a meaningful cultural change?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 23-Dec-2013 3:00 pm

    my GP advised me to go to A&E Christmas Day or Boxing Day if I had any worries or exacerbation of a minor current problem he is investigating. It should not be the case but it is good to know there is an alternative when his group practice is closed on these two days as there seems nowhere else to go.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 23-Dec-2013 3:00 pm

    Anonymous | 16-Dec-2013 9:00

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • continued from post above.

    I made no suggestion of blaming anybody. I merely asked if the issue would really be resolved. it is the responsibility of the government and the NHS to do so, not the patients needing medical services!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 23-Dec-2013 5:24 pm

    Sorry, I think my earlier post wasn't too clear: I wasn't suggesting that you were blaming patients, rather the government appears to be or it's proxy through childish adverts advising people to go to chemists if they're unwell etc.

    I think the problems in the NHS will be sorted out, I believe the government is committed to a having a joined-up NHS.

    Sorting-out the ludicrous Labour GP contract by mandating extended opening hours and weekend working will offer patients a real alternative to attending A&E. I'd go further and get rid of all the OOHs services, NHS 111 and the like and use the money to build 24/7 walk-in centres where patients can physically go and be seen if their GP is closed or can't see them that day. Financial penalties for poorly performing GP practices would concentrate their focus on seeing their patients in a timely manner and help pay for the WICs.

    Moving toward a full 24/7 NHS with consultants working shifts will make a huge difference to patient experiences. That coupled with access to around-the-clock diagnostic imaging will mean patients can be seen, have a senior Doctor review them - having had whatever tests they required - and being discharged in a timely manner. The money saved on overnight stays and unnecessary admissions will be phenomenal and will help Trusts offset increased wage costs.

    It's not going to be easy, but with the two big changes described I think will make a huge difference to the patient experience.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm sorry, but some of the lunacy being spouted here cannot go unremarked!

    The current government promised no top/down reorganisation of the NHS and proceeded to go about doing just that! So they lied to the electorate. Nothing less. And before the right wing extremists start accusing Labour, socialists, tinky winky and God knows who all of being entirely to blame for the state of the NHS, I support no political party. THEY ARE ALL TO BLAME.

    Oh and I think the GPs, who are much more powerful and much smarter than the dumb politicians you seem to worship, would have quite a lot to say about some of the idiocy punted as 'solutions'. When you so clearly don't understand/acknowledge the problems, you are obviously ill-placed to posset the answers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Oh and my comment above is addressed to Anonymous | 24-Dec-2013 12:08 pm, in particular.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page20 per page50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.