The BBC has reported that the NHS in England missed its A&E waiting time target in the first three months of the year. Patients should be seen, diagnosed and treated within four hours. The King’s Fund has said that research shows that 313,000 patients waited more than four hours and that A&E waits are now at their worst level for nine years.

Last month both doctors and managers claimed the system was heading for a crisis as hospitals were struggling to cope with rising demand amid pressures on funding and staffing levels. The Government has responded to this by saying that extra money was being made available to help the worst-hit hospitals. Sophie Bales, a medical injury solicitor at Ashton KCJ, comments:

“This research is yet further proof that funding cuts and staffing pressures are taking their toll on frontline NHS services. A&E services are not stand alone but linked to all other services in the hospital. If there are not enough beds and/or resources in hospital wards, this can cause a back up into A&E and will affect waiting times. Such long waits at A&E can have devastating consequences where patients need urgent treatment.

The Government has said that more money will be made available to those hospitals worse affected. However, it is unclear where this money will come from and the concern is that it will be taken from other much needed NHS funds.”