The proportion of people visiting hospital accident and emergency departments who had to wait over four hours rose substantially in the last quarter of 2010. For A & E departments generally, the proportion with long waits rose to 3.5 per cent from 2.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2009. For major A & E Departments the increase was even bigger, from 3.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent. As the Daily Telegraph pointed out, this increase follows the government’s decision last June to downgrade this target, which will be abandoned from April.
Other Department of Health statistics published yesterday showed that there were 16,785 cancelled elective operations in the last quarter of 2010, up from 15,765 in the last quarter of 2009.