A&E waits ‘kill’ as long delays drive thousands of patient deaths

Posted: November 21st 2021


This aspect of the backwash from covid is clearly having a major impact and I suspect has led to a fair proportion of these deaths being linked to people in rural settings. This story tells us:

Long delays and overcrowding in A&Es “kill” and may have caused thousands of patient deaths during the pandemic, a new report has revealed.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has sent a stark warning that patients will come to “avoidable harm” in A&Es across the country after it estimated, 4,519 patients are likely to have died after waiting more than 12 hours in emergency departments during 2020-21.

The news comes following record levels of 12 hour A&E waits, sometimes called trolley waits, with more than 7,000 patients waiting in October. However, the real numbers of people waiting is likely to be more than 20 times higher.

According to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), 300,000 patients waited more than 12 hours from the time they arrived in A&E in 2020-21, while monthly NHS data for the year only recorded around 14,000. This is because monthly figures only look at the length of time patients wait after staff have decided to admit them.

The report warned: “It is a vicious and dangerous cycle whereby crowding causes longer waits to treatment for patients, and consequently these longer waits further contribute to crowding in EDs. This is also a serious safety concern for patients who may initially appear well but have a serious underlying cause for their presentation.”