Record 350,000 patients waited over 12 hours at A&E last year

  • Figures reveal 1,000 patients left waiting 12 hours or more in A&E every day in 2022
  • Analysis shows shocking rise in long A&E delays since 2015, when just 1,300 people waited 12 hours or more
  • Lib Dems set out plan to tackle NHS crisis including recruiting more GPs and allowing pharmacists to prescribe more medicines

A record 350,000 patients, equivalent to the population of Leicester, waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022.

The figures were uncovered in new analysis by the Liberal Democrats showing a staggering rise in 12 hour delays at A&E since 2015.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today set out an NHS rescue plan to reduce the shocking A&E delays which he warned are “needlessly costing lives”. This includes recruiting 8,000 more GPs, giving pharmacists more powers to prescribe medicines and boosting funding to get eligible patients out of hospital and into social care. The proposals would mean fewer desperate people turning to A&E after struggling to get a GP appointment.

The party’s analysis, based on the latest NHS figures on emergency admissions to A&E, shows that long delays have been steadily getting worse every year since 2015.

Seven years ago, just 1,306 patients waited over 12 hours to be admitted from A&E in an emergency. This more than quadrupled to 8,270 in 2019, the year before the Covid pandemic began.

By 2022, the number of patients left waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted reached a shocking 347,700 or almost 1,000 a day. This made up 6% or over one in twenty patients admitted in an emergency last year. It means that more people waited over 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in just two days last year than in the whole of 2015.

The figures are based on emergency admissions, which refer to patients who were admitted to hospital, either for immediate treatment, a bed in a ward or for an X-ray or other diagnostic test.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The appalling delays at A&E are needlessly costing lives as patients are left waiting hours on end for the treatment they need. The failure of the Conservative government to grip this crisis is simply unforgivable. Instead they have shamefully allowed the situation to go from bad to worse through years of neglect and failure.

Rishi Sunak is in total denial about the scale of the problem facing our hospitals, social care and GP services.

We need a proper plan now to free up hospital beds, reduce A&E delays and bring the NHS back from the brink. That must start with recruiting more GPs, empowering our pharmacists and helping people to leave hospital and into social care.