A&E waiting times rising according to recent review


The King's Fund review has found that the number of people in England facing A&E waits of longer than 4 hours has risen and is now at its highest level for a decade.

Hospital Accident and Emergency

Around 232,000 patients suffered 4hr-plus delays in Accident & Emergency departments in the last quarter of 2012, or 38% longer than in the quarter before – the biggest margin since 2003.

Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are busy places. In the current climate, with government cuts and frontline services badly affected, medical staff are under enormous pressure. Unfortunately this can clearly lead to mistakes, with patient care suffering accordingly.

Some of the most common A&E department errors are:
  • Missed fractures
  • Failure to diagnose serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke
  • Foreign bodies left in wounds
  • Delay in diagnosis
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to arrange tests and scans or properly interpret the result
  • Missed severed tendons or nerves
  • Foreign bodies left in wounds

However, the lack of patient care permeates the whole NHS structure. This can be seen from the claims made by a former NHS Hospital chief executive, Gary Walker. Mr Walker claims that he was paid £500,000 as part of a ‘super-gagging order’ to keep quiet about patient safety. He claims that he was forced out of his job for refusing to meet targets in relation to non-emergency care.

The Francis report into the Mid Staffs scandal recommended a ban on gagging orders imposed on NHS whistleblowers and The Department of Health said: "The government has taken a series of steps to encourage an open dialogue, including changing the NHS constitution to enshrine the fact that NHS organisations should support staff who raise concerns, ensure those concerns are fully investigated and ensure that there is someone independent, outside of their team, to speak to."

If you believe that you have suffered any negligence, you may be entitled to claim.

This article was written by Helen Donaghy in our Medical Negligence Team.

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