11/04/2014 - NHS Queues rise by 18% amid A&E closures

nhs2The number of patients waiting over four hours at overstretched London hospitals has soared as the Tories close accident and emergency units.

NHS figures revealed this week show almost 200,000 patients were caught in growing queues over the last year — a massive 18 per cent increase on 2012/13.

Only one of London A&Es have managed to meet the waiting time target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

Labour’s London Assembly group pointed out the figures came soon after two A&E units were closed.

Three more are scheduled to shut soon and there are discussions over the future of a further three. Two units are also set to be downgraded.

The latest alarming figures come just two weeks after an expert review funded by the Unite union warned that London’s NHS has reached crisis point.

Cuts to GP numbers and community care services have piled pressure on A&E, the report found.

Unite national health officer Barrie Brown called the latest figures “very worrying.”

“The A&E departments are under increased pressure because of the government’s decision to suck £20 billion pounds in so-called efficiency savings out of the NHS during the course of this Parliament,” he said.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of the Solidarity union, commented:

"Cuts are biting deep into the NHS and affecting the service for patients. It is part of a pattern of lack of support for essential services. Fire stations are also being closed which has led to slower response times and as a result death. This is the reality of the ConDem austerity agenda."