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More than 380,000 A&E patients forced to wait 12 hours as NHS accused of hiding true scale of crisis

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More than 380,000 patients waited more than 12 hours in A&E last year, new figures show, amid claims ‘misleading’ public data masks the true scale of the problem.

A Royal College of Emergency Medicine report shows 381,991 people across 74 NHS trusts waited half a day or longer from the time they arrived at hospital in 2021.

The figures are 14 times higher than the official numbers published by the NHS – which say 25,553 people waited more than 12 hours during the same period at the same trusts – due to the different ways waiting times are measured.

While NHS England publishes data every month, it only shows how long patients have waited after a decision by doctors to admit them. Experts claim this is misleading and have called for the NHS to publish the figures from point of arrival instead.

It comes after The Independent revealed leaked data in May, showing that more than 3,000 patients a day were regularly facing 12-hour waits in the first four months of 2022.

Dr Adrian Boyle, RCEM vice president, said the new figures were “staggering” and “make clear that measuring 12-hour waits from decision to admit masks the reality facing patients and staff.

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Source: The Independent, 14 June 2022

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