Andrew Smith MP

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Increase in A&E waiting times

NEWS_POST40.jpgAndrew Smith MP has expressed strong concerns about the increases in waiting times for emergency services.

Recently published statistics show a worrying increase in the number of patients who are waiting over four hours to be seen. The statistics for the JR Hospital in Oxford show a decline from an average of 98 per cent in October last year to 83 per cent in March, and 81 per cent for the first three weeks of April.  The national target is 95 per cent or above.

Andrew said, “reports of ambulances queuing outside and patients waiting for hours on end in hospital corridors are deeply concerning.

"I have contacted Sir Jonathan Michael, the Chief Executive of Oxford University Hospitals Trust to seek assurances that significant measures are being taken to address the problem in Oxford. 

"I have also written to the Secretary of State for Health to raise my concerns that urgent action needs to be taken to support accident and emergency services nationally."

The rise in waiting times have been widely attributed to cuts in frontline staff (the coalition government have cut 5,000 nurses nationwide since they were elected in 2010) and ‘bedblocking’ as a result of patients whilst they wait to be discharged - exacerbated by £1bn in cuts to social services.

The British Medical Association have also cited problems with the roll out of the government’s 111 out of hours helpline which was rushed through despite concerns that it was not equipped to deal with the demand, meaning that more patients who might have otherwise seen a GP have instead gone to hospital.

"What we are seeing are the effects of the coalition government’s austerity measures and cuts to nursing staff,” said Andrew. “Hospital services are being stretched to breaking point and action needs to be taken to support hospital staff and to ensure patient care is not compromised.”

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