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1,000 patients wait over 12 hours at A&E every day

23 Jan 2023
Ambulance traveling at high speed

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

These 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.

The analysis 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.

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.

Liberal Democrat NHS rescue plan


  1. Train and recruit 8,000 more GPs: The Government must train and recruit 8,000 more GPs to ensure that everyone can get an appointment when people need it. This will reduce pressure on hospitals and paramedics, saving crucial time and money elsewhere in the NHS.

  2. Fix social care to enable hospital discharges: The Government needs to do everything it can to help discharge people from hospital into appropriate social care to relieve pressure on A&Es. That must include releasing all of the funding from the £500m social care discharge fund and the additional £200m announced last week.

  3. Empower pharmacists: As is the case in Wales and Scotland, pharmacists should be given the power and training to prescribe certain medicines and manage patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, to ease the pressure on GPs and A&Es. 

  4. Improve NHS staff retention: The Government needs to get round the table and negotiate in good faith a fair pay deal for NHS staff. Ministers must also fix the NHS pensions fiasco that is still hitting NHS employees with massive unfair tax bills, as well as putting in place proper resting facilities and good food for staff in hospitals.

  5. Launch flu and Covid vaccination campaign: The Government must bring forward a new campaign to encourage anyone who has yet to get their flu jab or Covid booster to do so. With thousands of people currently in hospital ill with flu or Covid, it is key that as many people as possible who are eligible come forward for their free jab. 

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