The number of ambulances turned away from A&E soared last week to its highest level since winter began. 

Accident and emergency performance figures this week show the NHS is feeling the strain as snow falls across Britain.

More than one in eight people taken to A&E in an ambulance waited outside for half an hour or more because hospitals are too overloaded to cope.

And 19 out of 20 hospital beds in the entire country are full – 10 per cent higher than the ‘safe operating level’ and the busiest they have been all winter.

Weekly statistics for January 7 to January 13 show that, despite hospitals managing the crisis better than last year, they are still cracking under the pressures of winter.

Ambulances were turned away from hospitals 38 times last week – up from just 17 the week before. 

And once they arrived at A&E, 12,326 patients had to wait 30 minutes or more before they could be taken inside. 2,769 of them waited more than an hour.

The percentage of people waiting in the back of an ambulance for half an hour or more is at its highest since figures began in early December – 12.5 per cent. 

Waiting times rising as the total number of patients arriving by ambulances falls – last week was the lowest since December 16 – suggests hospitals are clogged up.

Either bed shortages are slowing down the processing of patients, people are taking longer to treat or more people are taking themselves to A&E.

The Labour Party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, commenting on the latest weekly winter statistics, said today: ‘This is an NHS which remains under considerable strain this winter after years of Tory underfunding, chronic staff shortages and wider health and social care cuts.

Original Source

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