Shocking data shows elderly Brits waiting more than 24 hours in A&E – check your hospital

Shocking new data has laid bare the cost of NHS pressures in England as more than 100,000 elderly patients were left waiting over 24 hours at A&E before being admitted to hospital last year. Figures from Freedom of Information requests obtained by the Liberal Democrats revealed a 10-fold increase in waiting times for patients aged over 65 in just a five year period.

In 2019, a total of 10,344 over-65s had to wait more than 24 hours in A&E before being admitted to hospital. This rose to a staggering 102,679 in 2023.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey branded the findings “terrifying” and “appalling”, calling for more hospital beds and a “long-term” solution to the social care crisis.

But the NHS has responded stating it was under “significant demand” in 2023, and said its emergency care recovery plan has delivered “progress” for patients.

The worsening situation was similar for non-elderly patients too.

A total of 153,356 patients of all ages had to wait over 24-hours in A&E in 2023 at the 20 trusts that responded to the FOI requests.

That is almost 10-times higher than the 15,440 patients in 2019.

The biggest difference can be seen between 2021 and 2022 when the number of patients waiting over 24-hours in A&E shot up.

In 2021 a total of 17,958 patients of all ages had to wait over a day compared to 131,928 in 2022.

However, over-65s were far more likely to have to wait over 24-hours to be admitted than younger patients.

Just over two-thirds (67 percent) of patients who waited over a day to be admitted were over the age of 65.

Compared to the rest of the country, patients attending East Kent Hospitals University Trust were the worst affected.

The trust had the highest number of patients waiting over a day to be admitted last year – 14,394.

This was followed by Liverpool University Hospitals Trust with 13,283, and University Hospitals Birmingham with 8,665.

In total only 70 hospital trusts in England, out of 229, responded to the FOI requests meaning the overall figures could be much higher.

You can find out the data for your local trust by searching this table below:

Commenting on the findings, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “It is appalling that so many elderly and vulnerable people are being forced to put up with these terrifying waits, as our health service teeters on the brink.

“Behind each one of these figures is a story of someone waiting in pain, worried sick about getting the care they need.

“These numbers expose the reckless damage done by this Conservative Government’s neglect of the NHS and care.

“We desperately need more hospital beds and a long-term solution to the social care crisis, to end these devastating A&E delays.”

In response, an NHS spokesperson said: “Last year NHS staff contended with significant demand – 393,000 more A&E attendances and 217,000 more emergency admissions compared to 2022 – on top of unprecedented industrial action, high bed occupancy and the usual pressure caused by seasonal illness including Covid and flu.

“Despite these pressures, our urgent and emergency care recovery plan has delivered significant progress for patients – alongside increasing capacity including extra beds and ambulances, the NHS has expanded the use of innovative measures like same-day emergency care to help avoid overnight admissions from A&E, and treating people closer to home to get them the care they need without a trip to hospital, through expanded falls services, community response services and our world-leading virtual ward programme.”

Of the trusts that responded, Sheffield Children’s, Northumbria Healthcare and Alder Hey Children’s had the fewest number of patients waiting over 24 hours with zero.


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