Tens of thousands of A&E patients at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals waited more than four hours to be seen last year, figures reveal.
Medical experts have blamed a combination of staff shortages, a lack of funding, and increased demand for rising waiting times across England, and said a no-deal Brexit “would only exacerbate these pressures”.
NHS data shows that A&E patients at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust were left waiting more than four hours on 24,866 occasions in 2018-19.
It means that 82% of around 138,000 attendances were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arrival – well below the NHS’s target of 95%. The proportion of patients seen within the target time at the trust has dropped significantly in recent years – the figure stood at 95% in 2013-14.
NHS bosses recently unveiled plans to scrap the four-hour standard – introduced in 2004 – after arguing it was outdated due to the changing nature of emergency care.
It proposed replacing it with four new targets, including a focus on the most critically ill and injured, and measuring the average waiting time for all patients.
The performance of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals last year reflects the trend across England – just 88% of emergency attendances were seen to within four hours in 2018-19, compared to 96% five years earlier.
Dr Simon Walsh, the British Medical Association’s emergency medicine lead, said it was particularly concerning that waiting times had increased in major trauma units, where many of the most critically sick or injured patients are treated.
He described the Government’s recent spending commitment for the NHS as “disappointing”.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We’re backing the NHS with £1.8 billion for world-class facilities to improve frontline patient care across the country, on top of our historic commitment of £33.9 billion extra taxpayers’ money every year by 2023-24 – the largest and longest cash settlement in the history of the NHS.”