A third of patients seeking the most serious A&E care at the Mid and South Essex Trust waited longer than four hours to be seen last month, figures show.

A total of 23 patients were delayed in A&E for more than 12 hours and five per cent of patients upped and left before being treated as the NHS backlog grew across south Essex.

NHS guidance states that 95 per cent of patients attending accident and emergency departments should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

But Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust fell well behind that target in May, when just 67 per cent of the 31,945 attendances at type 1 A&E departments were seen within four hours, according to figures from NHS England.

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Type 1 departments are those which provide major emergency services – with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care – and account for the majority of attendances nationally.

It means 33 per cent of patients seeking the most urgent care at the Mid and South Essex Trust waited too long to be seen last month, compared to 35 per cent in April, and 11 per cent in May 2021.

Including the 2,379 attendances at other accident and emergency departments, such as minor A&Es and those with single specialties, 69 per cent of A&E patients were seen by the trust within the target time in May.

The King's Fund think tank warned patients are waiting longer in A&E departments for a "wide range" of reasons, including rising A&E attendances and emergency admissions to hospital, fewer hospital beds being available and staffing strains.

"The four-hour A&E waiting time standard is one of the most high-profile indicators of how the NHS is performing," it said in a recent report.

"The sustained declines in performance against this waiting time standard place a significant toll on patients and staff alike and are a clear indication of the pressures the wider health and care system is under."

The 95 per cent standard has not been met across the NHS in England since July 2015 – and last month, just 73 per cent of A&E attendances were admitted transferred or discharged within four hours, compared to 84 per cent in May 2021 and 87 per cent in May 2019.

At Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust in May:

  • There were 941 booked appointments, down from 1,214 in April
  • 2,346 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit – 7 per cent of patients
  • Of those, 23 were delayed by more than 12 hours

Separate NHS Digital data reveals that in March:

  • The median time to treatment was 106 minutes. The median average is used to ensure figures are not skewed by particularly long or short waiting times
  • Around 5% of patients left before being treated