Long emergency waits linked to 23,000 excess deaths in Britain, report reveals

Posted by News Express | 1 March 2023 | 700 times

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Long hours of admission periods at emergency departments of British hospitals have caused 23,000 excess deaths in 2022, information shared by the National Health Service (NHS) has revealed.

The health workers’ unions have long been criticizing the way the issues surrounding NHS are being handled by the government, saying that there is a huge workload on the staff, whom are unhappy with the working conditions and financial status of their jobs.

The government acknowledges staff shortages but do not necessarily agree that excess death numbers are definitively accurate.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has reportedly sent freedom of information requests to the NHS for its latest data on accident and emergency waiting times, discovering more than 1.6 million patients had to wait longer than 12 hours in the department from the moment they walked in until the time they left.

The requested information was being sought to find out the number of people who waited more than half a day at the A&E department. The medical college then worked out the mortality rates linked to the long waits, which had frequently made the headlines in the country last year.

Addressing the issue at the NHS Recovery Forum last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the long waits at the accident and emergency departments are among the issues “that are forefront on everyone’s mind.”

In the recent industrial action by the health workers, especially the ambulance staff, many hospitals reported deaths linked to long waiting times. In the West Midlands region alone, a total of 37 people died after lengthy ambulance waiting times in the first nine months of 2022, compared to only one patient dying in 2020, which saw hundreds of fatalities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to information provided to the BBC by the West Midlands Ambulance Service, the longest time an ambulance had to wait to hand over a patient to a hospital was 21 hours. Various hospitals in the region also recorded waiting times of up to 15 and 19 hours.

Once an ambulance arrives at hospital, the patient then waits to be taken out of the vehicle, depending on availability of the staff and beds in hospital.

Sharon Graham, the secretary general of Unite, one of the largest trade unions, said their voices are not being heard and accused the government of “criminal negligence.” The union said the government had months to intervene to end the dispute and prevent the strike.

“The shocking statistics from West Midlands Ambulance Trust tell the real story. Where were the government’s ‘well-rehearsed contingency plans’ when people were dying in the West Midlands because the crisis in the ambulance service meant an ambulance couldn’t get to them on time?” Graham asked, adding that the strikers are “actually trying to save the service.” (Anadolu Agency)

Source: News Express

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