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Labour asks for ‘urgent investigation’ into A&E figures

Labour asks for ‘urgent investigation’ into A&E figures

Labour party has asked for ‘urgent investigation’ into Accident and Emergency (A&E) winter figures.
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The Labour party has asked for ‘urgent investigation’ into Accident and Emergency (A&E) winter figures.

In a letter written to health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s shadow health secretary, rose concerns about the 'lack of transparency' over changes to recording practice.

An NHS Improvement spokesperson said that ‘next month’s publication data will make clear any changes that have been made to the reporting of data in recent months’.

‘Worse than feared’

Mr Ashworth said: ‘It's appalling to imagine that this year’s unprecedented winter crisis, which has seen vulnerable patients stuck for hours on end in the back of ambulances or on trolleys in hospital corridors, could be even worse than currently feared.

‘Jeremy Hunt must launch an urgent investigation to clarify what has gone on behind the scenes between Trusts, NHS England and NHS Improvement concerning the publication of A&E data this winter.’

On 22 January, the UK Business Authority wrote to NHS England, asking for ‘clearer A&E statistics’.

‘Significant concern’

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), said that it’s essential to have ‘accurate and consistent data to describe both wider system performance as well as the performance of Type I’, especially emergency departments.

He said: ‘If it is true that there is variation in how data is being collected, then this is of significant concern.

‘The data standards are crucial for measuring how our systems are coping and are a powerful marker of patient safety. They help also as an aspect of measuring quality of care. 
 
‘It is also vital that data is presented appropriately. All attendance data should be separated to make clear which pathways patients have taken to treatment. ‘Aggregating these data results in an inaccurate picture of how systems are performing, and will not help to reflect the actual pressures they are under.’

The NHS hasn’t been able to meet its A&E target, which requires 95% of patients to be treated, assessed or discharge within four hour, since July 2015.

Latest data shows that 85.1% of patients were treated in December 2017 compared to 94.8% at the same time seven years ago. 

 

 

 

 

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