Commenting on the NHS performance statistics for January 2020, which show a record number of patients staying in Emergency Departments (EDs) for over 12 hours, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson said:
“While these figures show a slight improvement in terms of the number of patients being treated within four hours, our Emergency Departments are still struggling to admit the sickest patients to ward beds.
“The latest data shows a record number of patients staying in EDs for more than 12 hours. This must be tackled urgently; long stays put lives at risk.
“Change will take time, but we still need more staff, more beds and more social care. The Clinical Review of Standards must be an opportunity to produce measures that help drive patient flow and reduce crowding.
“Measures must also be transparent and paint a true picture; the 2,846 people who waited longer than 12 hours are just the tip of the iceberg as this figure is measured from the point a decision to admit has been made, rather than their arrival at the ED.”
Dr Henderson also urged patients to be mindful of what to do if they were worried about coronavirus: “While the risk posed by coronavirus remains relatively low, due to the considerable strain on our EDs we ask all patients who think they may have symptoms to call NHS 111 before doing anything else. NHS 111 will provide information on what to do and assess if you need to be seen urgently.”