NHS Info GraphicFigures compiled by the Labour Party show that nearly 30,000 people in the North East have had to wait for over 4 hours in the region’s Emergency Departments since last September. 

In North Cumbria 3420 patients faced waits of over 4 hours for treatment in the same period. 

The figures were released on the day Labour forced the government to come to parliament to debate growing problems in Accident and Emergency Departments across the country and comes amid continued warnings from the NHS front-line that A&E waiting times are the highest in almost a decade.

Figures compiled from data from NHS England reveal that 29,806 patients across the North East had to endure waits at A&E in excess of the NHS’ 4 hour target since September 2012. 

Hospitals across the region have struggled to meet the target to see 95% of patients within 4 hours. 

County Durham and Darlington Hospitals Trust missed the target for 33 weeks since last September. North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust failed to meet the target on 27 weeks. Only Northumbria Healthcare Trust managed to meet the target each week. 

Figures released last week revealed the number of people who had to wait longer than an hour to be transferred from the ambulance service to hospital care had increased from 241 in 2010 to 2,165 in 2012. 

Jenny Chapman, Labour’s MP for Darlington said:

 “Here in the North East patients and hospitals are paying the price for David Cameron’s mismanagement of the NHS and for his decision to proceed with a top-down reorganisation that he promised wouldn’t happen. 

The unfolding crisis in A&E is a clear symptom of a system under pressure and there is no more visible sign than ambulances queuing up outside A&E units and patients waiting longer to be seen. It’s no good the government just blaming doctors. This is happening on their watch and as a direct consequence of their decisions.”

Labour today set out its A&E rescue plan calling on the Government to commit to:

  • Provide immediate support for social care by handing £1.2 billion of the NHS ‘under-spend’ to support the elderly at home.
  • Review NHS 111 advice line rules that see nurses handle fewer than one in five calls .
  • Ensure all hospitals have safe staffing levels – more than 4000 nursing jobs have already been lost and experts warn of understaffed A&Es.
  • Halt the closures of NHS Walk-In Centres that take pressure off A&Es.
  • Review all planned A&E closures and downgrades.


Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

 “Labour has called this emergency debate to force the Government to act on the growing crisis in our A&Es. There are warnings today that if something doesn’t change, they won’t safely get through the coming winter.

 “Jeremy Hunt has lost time and lost the argument. His complacency is one of the greatest dangers the NHS faces. He needs to come to the Commons today and produce a practical plan to relieve the pressure on A&E departments.

 “In the absence of Government action, it is Labour that is showing the leadership the NHS desperately needs at this time. The Government has desperately tried to blame everybody else for a crisis of their own making. They are failing to get a grip on the real causes of the crisis in A&Es.

 “Ministers’ failure to plan must not see patients face even worse chaos next winter.

 “The crisis in A&E proves that you can’t trust David Cameron with the NHS."