Number of patients waiting at A&E continues to rise, latest NHS figures show

An increasing number of people faced long waits at A&E in December last year in hospitals across the region, NHS data suggest.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 1:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 1:37 pm

Hospital accident and emergency figures released today show that last month, more patients were left waiting for more than four hours at A&Es, Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres managed by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust compared to the same period in 2018.

Last December, hospitals run by the trust, which include Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals, saw a total of 17,926 attendances - over 1,000 more than the previous year.

Of these, 4,471 had to wait more than four hours before being admitted, transferred or discharged compared to just 2,059 in 2018.

Scarborough's A&E.
Scarborough's A&E.

The number of those who faced long waits even after a decision to admit was made also rose dramatically.

In 2018, only 335 patients waited more than four hours for admission following a decision to admit. Last month, the number almost trebled, reaching a total of 933.

And for 15 of them the wait was even longer - more than 12 hours.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted these are "challenging circumstances". However, it says its hospitals are "coping well".

A spokesperson said: “The volume of patients to our emergency departments continues to rise year on year. This is reflective of the national position which experienced its busiest month on record in December 2019, with an unprecedented number of A&E attendances and ambulance call-outs.

“In December our emergency departments saw an 8% rise in attendance when compared to the same time last year, which is an additional 1,355 patients attending our hospitals. In December 2019, 42% of patients who attend our main emergency departments were subsequently admitted, increasing the pressure on the number of beds available.

“The Trust has a very detailed winter plan which aims to put additional capacity in place during our forecast busiest periods and our hospitals are currently coping well despite the challenging circumstances. We would like to thank our staff for their continued hard work and commitment to our patients under increased pressure.

“As we progress through the winter months and our predictably busier period, we would urge the public to help us by thinking about using alternatives such as NHS 111 if they are unsure about whether they should be going to their local Emergency Department.”