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Long wait times for emergency treatment in the UK lead to 14,000 deaths

In 2023, over 14,000 patients in the UK died due to long waits for emergency services, with some waiting up to 12 hours. The National Health Service (NHS) conducted a study in 2021 that looked at the health outcomes of 5 million people, which estimated that there are about 260 deaths per week related to waiting times in emergency departments. According to Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), these deaths leave families wondering what could have happened if they had been taken to the hospital sooner.

Professor Boyle emphasizes the need for increased investment in intensive care and emergency care for both healthcare workers and patients. However, an NHS source suggests that RCEM’s figures may be misleading as they did not account for individual cases in their survey. The NHS reports a significant increase in emergency needs this year, with a rise in patients and emergency room admissions. Improvements to the urgent care recovery plans include additional beds, equipment, and effective strategies like same-day emergency care in many hospitals.

The latest data shows only 56.5% of patients meeting the NHS’s goal of having 76% of patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours by March 2024. This is despite efforts by the NHS to prioritize human life over funding and resource constraints under its urgent and emergency care recovery plan. Families of patients who die due to long wait times are left wondering what could have happened if they had been taken to the hospital sooner. Experts estimate that one death occurs for every 72 patients who wait 8-12 hours in ICU.

By Samantha Jones

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