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The Guardian view on A&E waiting times: a warning from emergency doctors | Editorial

The Guardian view on A&E waiting times: a warning from emergency doctors | Editorial

The Guardian view on A&E waiting times: a warning from emergency doctors | Editorial
Apr 01, 2024 50 secs

Waiting lists for pre-planned hospital treatment and outpatient appointments in England fell from 7.8m to 7.6m between September and December last year.

The pledge he made in January last year, as one of five priorities on which he said voters should judge him, was that “NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly”.

New calculations by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) show that, with regard to the broader aim of delivering speedier treatment, his government is falling shockingly short.

The NHS lost 25,000 beds across the UK as a whole in the decade to 2022, and emergency specialists have previously highlighted the dangers of a situation where seriously ill or injured people cannot be quickly admitted.

Greater public familiarity with the epidemiological concept of “excess deaths” since the pandemic should help to ensure that the emergency doctors’ warning is heeded.

Emergency doctors have performed a valuable public service in highlighting the threats to life that can be caused by excessively long waits.

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