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New study highlights trends leading to rising hospital waiting times

28th July 2014

The NHS is suffering from a "perfect storm" of factors that are leading to an increase in accident and emergency waiting times, according to a new report.

Carried out by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation, the study aimed to explain why major emergency units have missed the target to treat, admit or discharge emergency patients within four hours for an unprecedented 52 weeks in a row.

It was demonstrated that the amount of crowding on wards has risen as the population's average age increases, while the number of A&E units has been frozen or reduced under successive governments.

The study also suggested that winter pressures on A&E are less than many people presume, but conversely, the impact of hot weather tends to be underestimated. Other contributory factors include lack of access to responsive GP services and poor availability of beds.

Report author and Nuffield Trust senior research analyst Ian Blunt said: "The NHS has been criticised for not having the information it needs to fully understand what's going on in A&E. This report provides some of the new evidence we need so that policymakers are able to target limited resources most effectively."

The British Medical Association said this report provides evidence of the need for urgent government investment in frontline NHS services.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801738088-ADNFCR

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