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30.10.17

BMA predicts a million more four hour waits in A&E by 2020

The BMA has warned bosses that a million extra patients could face upwards of four hour waits at accident and emergency departments by 2020, unless significant changes are made.

Figures, based on current projections, show an increase of 370,000 people forced into long wait times by next year – making a total of 2.9 million.

The organisation expects 23.8 million people to attend A&E within the next 12 months. Emergency admissions are thought to make up six million of the total while there will be 815,000 trolley waits.

Further to this, between October 2019 and September 2020 the BMA project 24.5 million patients will be attending departments and 6.3 million will be emergency admissions.

The rise in attendances – without an increase in investment on services and infrastructure – could lead to a sharp rise in waiting times in hospital wards.

“These alarming figures show the scale of the challenge facing the NHS, as demand increases and waiting times rise many more patients are left waiting longer for care,” said BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul. “It is clear from this analysis that we need urgent action to close the gap between investment and rising demand on the NHS.

“With the Budget less than a month away the government needs to address the fact we spend about £10bn less per year on health than other leading European economies.

“Plugging this gap could fund another 35,000 hospital beds or 10,000 doctors, which could transform patient care. The NHS is one of the best health care systems in the world, but it can’t provide first class care on second class investment.”

Earlier this month, the CQC questioned lengthening times in England for urgent and emergency services despite remaining positive about the standard of care.

However, the regulator also pointed to an increase in admission to explain the rise in waiting time problems.

Top image: EunikaSopotnicka

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