Waiting times in hospital A&E departments are at an all time high – and Salford is even worse than the national average.

According to national data for October, only 83.6 per cent of attendees are seen within four hours which is the national target but at Salford Royal infirmary the percentage was even worse at just 82.7 per cent – nearly one in five.

Salford Royal Infirmary ©David Dixon

Nuffield Trust chief economist, Professor John Appleby, said: “These figures show the next Government will immediately be faced with one of the bleakest winters in the NHS’s history.

“We have many months to go until seasonal pressures really hit the NHS, but October has already seen an unprecedented slump with performance against the main A&E target worse than ever.

“The health service is seeing far more patients, yet one in six is now waiting more than four hours in A&E. If the usual trends continue after Christmas, that would head towards one in five.

“…If this trend keeps going, I fear we could see 100,000 people stuck on trolleys this coming January.

“As the election promises roll in, we should be under no illusion about the money, staff and time it will take to turn this situation around.”

Labour 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.”

“These figures starkly show why patients desperately need Labour’s £40 billion rescue plan.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was “disgraceful” that figures from NHS England show that A&E performance is at its worst-ever level.

In an interview, he said: “The four-hour limit of seeing people was brought in under the previous Labour government, as was the two-week wait for cancer treatment. Neither of which are being met across the whole country.

“It is disgraceful and it is a problem of the lack of staff and the lack of funding for it.”

Mr Corbyn reiterated Labour’s NHS spending plans, “which will deal with all of that”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the performance of the NHS had been “incredible” but that it had faced a “very significant” increase in demand for hospital services.

After figures showed NHS England had missed a raft of targets, Mr Hancock said the number of operations done had actually risen by 7 per cent over the past 12 months.

“In many ways the NHS is performing better than it ever has. The challenge is that demand is increasing as well,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.

“The performance of the system is incredible. The people who are working in the NHS are doing a remarkable job.

“We are putting record amounts of funding in over the next four years. We have got record numbers of doctors and nurses with more to come.”

Asked if he took responsibility for NHS waiting times, Boris Johnson told broadcasters: “Of course, but you’ve got to recognise what we’re facing is huge demand now in the NHS and that is why this Government has got the biggest investment in the NHS in modern times.”

The Prime Minister said he accepts the NHS needs funding but said his party was committed to putting money in.

He defended the Conservative Party’s record on the NHS since 2010, adding: “If you say can we do better, must we do better, should we be investing more?

“Yes, of course, but look at what we’re putting in.”


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