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Results of winter pressures on A&E revealed

Following a report on last night’s BBC News at Ten programme (January 22) about the pressures the NHS is facing this winter, particularly in A&E, there are extensive reports this morning that Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, will challenge for a £5 billion post-Brexit annual cash injection – that’s an extra £100m a week – for the NHS. 


A BBC news team spent seven days at the University Hospital of North Tees, filming and talking to staff and patients. The report revealed staff under immense pressure, an A&E department that was so full it had no beds available to see patients who were being forced to wait on trolleys in the aisles until space became available. Paramedics were waiting with them because they were unable to discharge their patients and ambulances were queuing outside the entrance. 


Nurse in charge, Leanne Brookes said: “We don’t have the capacity to safely look after the amount of patients that are coming through the door.”


On one day the A&E department was forced to close its doors entirely. This is a hospital that is reported to have a better than average record for A&E waiting times. 


“Patients on trolleys in corridors is a very rare occurrence at the Trust,” Medical Director, Deepak Dwarakanath told the BBC. “My concern is that the year-on-year increase in the number of patients coming to A&E is not sustainable. We need to transform our care.” 


Boris Johnson, who campaigned during the Referendum for a vote to leave the EU, made the claim for more funding for the NHS at a cabinet meeting this morning (January 23). Vote Leave campaigners at the time claimed that the £350m paid to the EU each week could be spent instead on the NHS. The Times newspaper refers to these latest demands as a “Brexit dividend.” His claims were rebuffed by the Prime Minister and Health Secretary.


The BBC’s Health Editor, Hugh Pym, also commented on new doubts about the accuracy of the NHS’s data around A&E waiting times. The BBC, he said, had become aware that a small number of Trusts had been including statistics from minor injury units and urgent care centres run by other providers. “It could be that all the figures from hospitals going back over a year or more could have to be re-calculated,” Pym warned.