From today's Daily Mail:

No one is supposed to wait more than four hours in hospital casualty departments before being treated – but patients are waiting far longer and one was not treated for 32 days.

Evidence collected by the Tories shows that hospitals often put patients in curtained-off 'emergency assessment units' – where they are still waiting but do not count towards the A&E target because they are technically no longer on the ward.

People are waiting an average of 17 hours in these units. Emergency units are mixed-sex and often do not contain proper beds: just trolleys. Critics say they are being used as dumping grounds so hospitals can 'stop the clock' and hit the admissions target.

Lansley-Big-Ben Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley hit out at the Government, accusing them of fiddling the figures to suggest that targets are being met:

"Labour complacently claim that they have abolished long waits for patients being admitted to hospitals, but these figures show that all they have really done is fiddle the figures. 'The reality is that in some cases, patients are being left in often inappropriate wards for days and weeks at a time. It is unacceptable and has to change.

"Labour's insistence on forcing doctors to focus on ticking boxes ahead of looking after patients means that more time is spent on devising elaborate schemes to satisfy the bureaucrats rather than making sure unwell patients get better. We need to get back to the drawing board and once again put patients at the heart of the NHS, not Labour's targets."

More here.

Jonathan Isaby