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Waiting Times in A&E Are Going Up

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The Department of Health has released figures that show a shocking increase in the length of time that many people are waiting to be seen in Accident and Emergency departments up and down the country.

The second quarter in 2010 saw 86,626 people having to wait longer than the four hour period that is recommended by government guidelines. This shot up to 165,279 in the same period in 2011. This has worried some who are saying that Andrew Lansley’s decision to get rid of the target for waiting times was the wrong one to make.

However the broad picture still tells us that most people are being seen within the four hour time period. The figure given above equates to approximately 3% of all patients visiting A&E during the second quarter of the year. This is double the percentage that was recorded last year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “For the first time, we are measuring the overall quality of care in A&E, as well as the time spent in A&E, which allows doctors to decide what is best for their patients. These figures confirm that, through this change, waiting times remain low and stable.”

No doubt the opposition will seek to make political gain from these figures. But the spokesperson for the DoH added: “For the first time we are measuring the overall quality of care in A&E, as well as the time spent in A&E.” Clearly this is something that is important for the coalition government to do.

 

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