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The King's Fund: Scenes in Channel 4 Dispatches A&E episode truly harrowing

Commenting on Channel 4 Dispatches Undercover A&E: NHS in crisisSiva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, recently said: 

“Some of the scenes in tonight’s Dispatches are truly harrowing. NHS services are meant to be places of safety and this should be a wake-up call to senior leaders and politicians that this isn’t always the case.

“The most shocking thing may be just how widespread and deep these A&E performance pressures are. Not a single NHS hospital trust in England that operates a major A&E department is meeting the national standard for 95% of people to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arrival. And national performance against totemic NHS waiting time targets has now fallen to levels that would have been simply unthinkable a decade ago. The latest figures show that more than one in four people waited more than the target of four hours in A&E, and people are waiting 33 minutes on average for an ambulance for emergency cases such as strokes and heart attacks when the target is 18 minutes.

“As tonight’s Dispatches so graphically shows, long waits for care and stretched NHS services are not just an inconvenience and waiting list statistics are not just abstract numbers. Rising pressure in NHS services and delays accessing treatment can have profound implications that, in some cases, result in tragedy.

“The intense pressures in emergency departments are a visible symptom of a wider health and care system that has lived under constant pressure for much of the past decade. Some of the solutions to over-crowded hospitals lie in bolstering primary and community care so that people can stay well without the need for urgent care, and in shoring up our ailing social care services so people can be safely discharged and cared for.

“History has shown that the NHS can deliver better care and shorter waits for patients when it is given the right resources and has a coherent improvement plan. At the end of the day, politicians, national bodies, health care staff and the public all want timely and high-quality care to be available for all – it is now up to the next government to make that possible.”

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all. 


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