Leeds A&E patients face longer waiting times in hospital

Waiting times at the city's A&E departments deteriorated last month as hospitals around the country continued to face a busy winter.

Just 68.9 per cent of emergency patients were either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in January, against a national target of 95 per cent.

Hospitals are facing a busy winter

Figures released by NHS England show that 1,773 patients waited more than four hours on trolleys in A&E at the Leeds hospitals, up from 1,512 in December, but none waited longer than 12 hours.

At Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, the four-hour figure was 78.8 per cent, down from 82.8 per cent from the previous month. At Mid Yorkshire almost 2,000 A&E patients waited on trolleys for more than four hours, up from 1,414 in December.

Nationally, NHS hospitals recorded their worst ever waiting times for major A&E departments in January.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine, said measures were needed to tackle stress and exhaustion among NHS staff.

He said: "The last six weeks has seen the acute services of the NHS under a sustained period of stress due to normal winter pressures along with a surge in influenza.

"Neither of these were unpredictable but both have combined to cause the issues that have been widely reported across the country."

Figures show that nationally, just 77.1 per cent of patients were dealt with in four hours at England's Type 1 A&E departments - those staffed by consultants providing 24-7 emergency care - in January. It was the worst figure on record, down from 77.3 in December.

The number of patients waiting more than four hours in all A&E departments, including minor injuries units and specialist centres, was 85.3 per cent, the second worst recorded.

Nationally, 81,000 patients had to wait on trolleys in A&E for more than four hours, and more than 1,000 waited for more than 12 hours in January.

An NHS England spokesman said: "Despite the worst flu season in seven years, A&E performance improved this month.

"It was better than both the month before, and was better too than the same time last winter.

"This was partly helped by the fact that NHS-related delayed transfers of care fell to their lowest in four years freeing up beds for patients needing emergency hospitalisation."

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