Long A&E waits 'are on the rise'
Published: 31st May 2012 04:56:30
The proportion of patients facing long waits in A&E units in England has started rising, analysis suggests.
The King's Fund report showed 4.2% of patients waited longer than four hours from January to March, compared with 3.4% in the same period last year.
It means long A&E waits are at their highest level since 2004.
The think tank said it was a sign A&E departments are struggling, but ministers said long waits were within acceptable levels.
The health service is allowed to let up to 5% of the 21m patients who visit A&E units each year wait longer than four hours.
This is built into the system to give doctors the freedom to prioritise the sickest patients.
So the proportion of patients waiting for over four hours is still within the target.
What is more, that leeway has been increased from 2% in the past year.
The King's Fund, which used government figures for its analysis, accepted the rise seen over the last 12 months could be partly linked to prioritising of the most unwell.
But it also said it was indicative of the pressures in the health service - funding is being squeezed at a time when A&E units are having to treat more patients.
Professor John Appleby, the chief economist of the King's Fund, said the "steep rise" should be a concern for the government.
But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the King's Fund was "wrong" to suggest it was a growing problem as the government had given hosptials greater flexibility over how quickly they treat patients.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Long A&E waits 'are on the rise' [Online] (Updated 31st May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431953/Long-A-E-waits-are-on-the-rise [Accessed 22nd Aug 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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