The crisis in Great Britain emergency departments it has been linked to more than 15,000 deaths in six months, with up to 500 patients a week dying due to long waits for emergency care.
Expert analysis shows that the number of preventable deaths has been three times higher than it would have been if hospital waits for emergency treatment had remained at previous levels.pandemic levels
Internal National Health Service data obtained by the independent shows that the number of patients forced to wait more than 12 hours in the emergency room has quadrupled since April 2019.
Health leaders have called on the government to intensify actions to get the service out of the crisis.
It comes as the A&E departments and ambulances have endured one of the toughest weeks on record, with thousands of ambulance workers, nurses and healthcare workers on strike. It was announced on friday that more nursing walkouts will take place on January 18 and 19.
Ahead of this week’s strike days, hospitals and ambulances across the country declared critical incidents due to “overwhelming” pressure, while health leaders warned the NHS was close to “overheating” during one of its darkest winters.
The President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Adrian Boyle, said: “Multiple scientific studies have shown that long waits in emergency departments are associated with increased mortality. The delay and dilution of medical and nursing care is dangerous.
“These figures from respected independent experts confirm what many ER doctors have long suspected. This problem is solvable – we had similar problems in the late 1990s and we were able to fix it in 2005. It took political will and leadership to address the problem.”
LCP Health Analytics analyzed the NHS data alongside Office for National Statistics figures for excess deaths, i.e. deaths above what was expected for the time of year. Their analysis found a widening gap between projections based on pre-pandemic levels of care and the actual number of excess deaths. By October of this year, there were 500 excess deaths per week compared to a prediction of 150 without the emergency care crisis.
Data analysis, conducted by actuaries Natalie Tikhonovsky and Stuart McDonald, suggests that the situation in emergency departments began to deteriorate dramatically in April 2021 after a lull between May 2020 and March 2021. Since April 2021, excess deaths linked to A&E departments have skyrocketed. from 100 to just over 500 per week in October.
Mr McDonald, head of longevity and demographics at LCP Health Analytics, said: “The NHS has faced extraordinary pressure for a prolonged period, and this can be seen in measures such as ambulance response times and “A&E wait times, which are significantly worse than seasonal norms. Our analysis shows how these pressures lead directly to hundreds of additional deaths each week, with little chance for the situation to improve during the winter months.”
The potential link between the crisis in emergency care and excess deaths was previously discussed by the financial times.
LCP Health Analytics also looked at excess deaths relative to ambulance delays, but found no significant correlation. However, monthly data from the Association of Chief Ambulance Executives suggests that more than 4,000 patients a month are suffering harm as a result of ambulance delays outside of emergency departments and delayed response times.
Dr Louella Vaughan, Senior Clinical Investigator at the Nuffield Trust think tank, said: “More patients are waiting longer in NHS accident and emergency departments to be admitted to hospital than at any time since records began. .
“The consequences of the increase in waiting are felt in all health and care. Overcrowded emergency departments and overworked staff struggle to provide timely care. Ambulance crews are unable to deliver patients due to lack of space at A&E, delaying their response to other life-threatening conditions. It is a vicious circle to which urgent solutions are needed.
“The deterioration of the social care system and the lack of investment in care outside the hospital is the root of the problem. Staff simply cannot free up beds fast enough to discharge medically well patients home safely or quickly enough. This has been compounded by the exodus of medical and nursing staff due to concerns about pay and increasingly unsafe conditions, [along with] high staff illness rates and constant Covid precautions, slowing down service delivery.”
The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.