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Waiting Too Long for Emergency Treatment Leads to Death of 14,000 People in UK


Apr 2, 2024

Recent research reveals that over 14,000 patients in the UK died last year due to long waits for emergency services, with some waiting up to 12 hours. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) published a study on April 1, expanding on previous research by the National Health Service (NHS) in 2021. Experts examined the health outcomes of 5 million individuals, estimating around 260 deaths per week attributed to delays in emergency departments (ICU).

The research indicates that for every 72 patients waiting 8-12 hours in the ICU, one dies, with about 65% of individuals waiting over 12 hours due to a lack of hospital beds. Risk of death increases after 5 hours of waiting. A previous NHS report showed that in 2023, more than 1.5 million patients in England had to endure waits of 12 hours or more. President of RCEM, Adrian Boyle, highlighted the lasting impact on families who wonder what could have happened if their loved ones had received care sooner.

Under the urgent and emergency care (UEC) recovery plan, the NHS aims to have 76% of patients admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours by March 2024. However, by February 2024, only 56.5% of patients met this target, prompting Professor Boyle to call for urgent investment in intensive care and emergency services. While an NHS source cautioned against misleading figures, the data suggests a significant increase in emergency needs this year.

Despite challenges, efforts are being made to improve emergency care recovery plans, with many hospitals receiving support for additional beds, equipment, and implementing strategies like same-day emergency care. Calls for increased funding and resources are being made to prioritize patient care and address the pressing issue of long wait times in emergency services.

By editor

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