After unveiling its emergency care plan on Monday, NHS England confirmed it would release internal data each month - currently only made public once a year - showing how many people are waiting for longer than 12 hours after arriving at an emergency department.
The Independent has published several leaks of this data, which shows that these waiting times can be up to five times higher than publicly available NHS figures. Official monthly figures only count the number of hours patients wait after a decision to admit them has been made, and so mask the true scale of the problem.
The move comes after health secretary Steve Barclay said the NHS would, from April, publish this “real” number in a bid for “greater transparency.”
Writing in The Telegraph, he said: “Too much of the debate about A&E and ambulance services is based on anecdotal evidence. I want NHS managers and the wider public to have access to the same facts from the front line, starting with publishing the number of 12-hour waits from the time of arrival in A&E from April.”
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Source: The Independent, 31 January 2023