News

Only 71% of A&E arrivals at the Royal Free London seen within four hours

The NHS target is for 78% of patients to be seen within this time frame by March 2025 reports Marieta Marinova, Data Reporter

A hospital entrance sign with the focus on the Accident and Emergency department
Across England, 74% of patients were seen within four hours – (Credit – Radar)

Nearly three-quarters of people who arrived at accident and emergency at the main NHS trust serving Barnet were seen within four hours last month, new figures show.

The NHS standard is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. However, as part of a recovery plan, the health service has an objective for 78% of patients to be seen within this time frame by March 2025.

The previous recovery target was for 76% of patients to be seen within four hours by March this year, which was missed across England.

Recent NHS England figures show there were 26,380 visits to A&E at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in April. Of them, 18,788 were seen within four hours – accounting for 71% of arrivals.

Across England, 74% of patients were seen within four hours. It was in line with the month before, also missing the target.

Figures also show 42,078 emergency admissions waited more than 12 hours in A&E departments from a decision to admit to actually being admitted – down slightly from 42,968 in March.

The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission fell from 140,181 in March to 134,344 in April.


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At Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, 1,891 patients waited longer than four hours, including 905 who were delayed by more than 12 hours.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund, said A&E departments continue to be under extreme strain, and there is “little prospect”, of performance improving soon.

She said: “It is patients and staff who are bearing the brunt of the deterioration in NHS performance over the past 10 years.

“Successive governments have failed to invest in services to keep people well and outside of hospital. At the same time, NHS buildings and equipment have been allowed to degrade and become dilapidated.”

About 2.2 million people attended A&E departments across England last month – the busiest April ever and 10% higher than the number of attendances the same time in 2023.

The overall number of attendances to A&E at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in April was a drop of 6% on the 28,002 visits recorded during March, but 12% more than the 23,475 patients seen in April 2023.

Louise Ansari, CEO of Healthwatch England said: “With the current target of 78% of people to be seen in four hours by March 2025, more than one in five patients can expect long waits for some time to come.

“Charting a course back to more ambitious targets will restore confidence that services are there when people need them most.”

She added better communication with patients at A&E would improve satisfaction in the short term.

NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “Today’s figures show just how hard NHS staff are working to deliver the best possible care for patients, despite ongoing significant demand and a difficult recovery journey.

“Improvements in urgent and emergency care continue, with ambulances responding to emergency calls faster, and more people being seen within four hours in A&Es despite a record April for attendances and admissions.”


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