Labour condemns NHS 'crisis' as A&E figures reveal waiting times at their worst on record

Posted On: 
14th November 2019

Labour has accused the Government of presiding over a “crisis” as NHS England revealed that A&E waiting times are at their worst on record.

Hospital waiting times hit a record high
Credit: 
PA Images

The latest figures show that just 83.6% of patients were seen within four hours in October – significantly short of the 95% target, which has now not been hit since July 2015.

This compares to 85.2% in September, and 89.1% in October 2018.

Labour promises to outdo Boris Johnson's NHS spending pledge with £26bn 'rescue plan'

Boris Johnson announces £1.8bn NHS cash boost for hospitals

RCEM Election Manifesto outlines actions for the next government

The monthly figures, which have been collated since 2004, also show however that attendances rose to 2,170,510 in October – 4.4% up on the same month a year earlier.

There were also 563,079 emergency admissions last month, 3.1% more than in October 2018.

Admissions in the last 12 months period were up 4.6% on the preceding period.

Elsewhere, 76.9% of patients began cancer treatment following a GP referral within 62 days in September 2019 – below the 85% target and down from 78.3% a year earlier.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The Conservatives have ushered in the worst NHS crisis on record."

"Under Boris Johnson the NHS is in crisis and we’re heading for a winter of abject misery for patients.

"Our A&Es are overwhelmed, more so than ever. In every community there’s an ever growing queue of people waiting for treatment.

"The Tories spent a decade cutting over 15,000 beds. Now they should apologise to every patient languishing on a trolley and waiting longer for treatment.

Mr Ashworth also condemned his opposite number, Matt Hancock, after he said the figures showed Labour's "chaotic" policies would make the situation worse.

"These figures show just how important it is that we stop Jeremy Corbyn," the Health Secretary had said. "We are giving the biggest cash boost ever to our NHS, but Corbyn’s chaotic policies will put that at risk."

“With rising demand, and with dedicated staff already working exceptionally hard, the last thing our NHS can afford is Labour’s plans for a four-day week and uncontrolled and unlimited immigration, which would cripple our health service – leaving it understaffed and underfunded."

However the Shadow Health Secretary fired back: "What utter garbage from Matt Hancock. Any decent Health Secretary worth their salt would today apologise to patients today for the worst A&E waits on record. Patients are waiting longer in pain and distress because of Tory cuts."

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Luciana Berger meanwhile said: “This is a damning indictment of the Conservatives' dismal record on the NHS. It is shameful that patients are being abandoned for hours in A&E or waiting for months in pain for routine operations."