46% of patients attending Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments last month managed by London Northwest University Healthcare Trust, including Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, waited more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged, according to new NHS figures.
Local London Assembly Member, Krupesh Hirani AM, said that “historic underfunding of the NHS” and workforce shortages could be putting “the lives of my constituents at risk”.
On average, 37% of patients attending major ‘Type 1’ London A&Es in April had a wait longer than four hours.
This comes after the Government pledged to bring down waiting times in last Tuesday’s (10th May) Queen’s Speech.
The operational standard set by the NHS for A&E waiting times is that 95% of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of their arrival at an A&E department.
However, in May last year, plans were announced to scrap this target after NHS England published a consultation review on new urgent and emergency care standards.
The latest NHS data shows that between October and December 2021, there were 6,381 acute nursing vacancies in London and 1,200 acute medical vacancies. However, these figures do not give an indication of how many of these permanent positions have been filled by temporary staff.
Alongside tackling workforce shortages, Mr Hirani AM is now urging the Treasury to release the funding it has promised to three new hospital schemes in London, at Hillingdon, Whipps Cross and Sutton.
Each scheme is set to help to alleviate the pressures on the capital’s A&E departments, but it has been reported that the Government’s national hospital programme has been delayed and placed under review.
Local London Assembly Member, Krupesh Hirani AM, said: “People in Harrow want to know that if they or a loved one are ever in need of emergency care, that they’ll be treated quickly. What we’re seeing is that the Government’s historic underfunding of the NHS and its failure to get a grip of the workforce crisis are leaving local people waiting too long for urgent treatment.
“Let’s be clear, these latest figures are not a reflection on tireless efforts of our overstretched and underpaid hospital workers. Austerity could be putting the lives of some of my constituents at risk.
“What we urgently need is a clear and comprehensive plan from the Government of how it will bring waiting times down coming out of the pandemic.
“The Queen’s Speech made a commitment to this, but the reality is that in London we are still waiting for funding to be released by the Treasury for three new vital hospital schemes”.