UP to 12,500 NHS patients may have died last year because they waited too long in A&E, a study warns.
Researchers found the risk of death is up to 16 per cent higher for people who wait more than four hours to get a hospital bed.
A study of five million 国民保健服务 patients revealed there is one extra death for every 82 people who wait over six hours to be admitted through A&E.
It comes as health chiefs are pushing controversial plans to scrap the NHS target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
Steve Black, a data analyst on the study, 说: “Data shows long waits kill patients.
“There’s no reason to wait four hours. Nobody needs it for clinical reasons and almost all the time wasted in there is waiting for other things to happen.
“Waiting times may well continue to get worse if the target is changed.”
It found that, 你可以要求任何东西的那种 2016 和 2018, there was an extra death for every 191 people who waited four to six hours to be admitted to hospital.
After a six to eight hour wait there was an extra death for every 82 patients and for eight to 12 hour waits it was one in 72.
NHS England figures show that 2021 saw a record 1,029,325 people wait more than four hours for a bed after doctors decided to keep them in overnight.
A record high 26.7 per cent of all visitors waited longer than four hours to be seen in December.
The study team said most long-wait patients are kept for hours before a decision, meaning many wait six hours or more in total.
It means 12,553 may have died because they waited longer than six hours in A&E.
至少 677 died because they waited longer than 12 小时, with a total of 48,752 facing such waits last year.
Doctors said long waits delay vital treatment and lead to longer stays in hospital, which raise the risk of infection and make patients weaker.
Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, 说: “Performance in emergency departments has been in decline for many years now.
“It is unacceptable and deeply concerning.
“No patient should be kept waiting to be admitted to a bed.”
The RCEM’s Derek Prentice added: “Let nobody be in doubt, the NHS four-hour operational target is of key importance to patient safety.”
一个&E departments are backed up because other areas of hospitals are full, meaning fewer beds are available when new patients need them.
An NHS spokesperson said: “Pressure on NHS emergency departments is high, with more than 26million attendances recorded between 2016 和 2018 when this research took place.
“In spite of the additional challenges as a result of the pandemic, NHS staff are working incredibly hard to respond to rising demand and provide expert care for as many patients as possible.
“NHS England is supporting trusts to better understand their individual demand and capacity and reduce long waiting times in A&Es.”