Long wait times for emergency treatment in the UK lead to 14,000 deaths

New research by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has revealed 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. This study follows a larger work by the National Health Service (NHS) in 2021 that looked at health outcomes of 5 million people. Experts estimate that there are about 260 deaths per week related to waiting times in emergency departments, with one death for every 72 patients who wait 8-12 hours in the ICU.

According to RCEM president Adrian Boyle, families of patients who die due to long wait times are left wondering what could have happened if they had been taken to the hospital sooner. Urgent interventions are needed to prioritize human life over funding and resource constraints. The NHS aims to have 76% of patients admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours by March 2024 under its urgent and emergency care recovery plan, but the latest data shows only 56.5% of patients meeting that goal by February 2024.

Professor Boyle emphasizes the need for increased investment in intensive care and emergency care for both healthcare workers and patients. However, an NHS source suggests that RCEM’s figures may be misleading, as they did not account for individual cases in their survey. The NHS reports a significant increase in emergency needs this year, with a rise in patients and emergency room admissions. Improvements to the urgent care recovery plans include additional beds, equipment, and effective strategies like same-day emergency care in many hospitals.

By Aiden Johnson

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