July was one of the worst months ever for A&Es in England, new data shows

Accident and emergency departments in England had one of their worst months ever in July, with record numbers of patients waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted and the lowest proportion of people being seen within four hours.

It was also the joint worst month for response times by ambulances dealing with the most urgent incidents, new figures from NHS England show.

A record 29,317 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in July from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.

This is up 33% from 22,034 the previous month, and is the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010.

The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 136,221 in July, up from 130,109 the previous month but slightly below the record 136,298 in March.

A total of 71.0% of patients in England were seen within four hours of arriving at A&Es last month, down from 72.1% in June – again, the worst performance on record and well below the target operational standard that 95% of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

This target has not been met nationally since 2015.

Separate NHS England figures show the average response time in July for ambulances dealing with the most urgent incidents, defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, was nine minutes and 35 seconds.

This is up from nine minutes and six seconds in June, and is the joint longest average response time for this category of incidents since current records began in 2017.

The target standard response time for urgent incidents is seven minutes.

Ambulances in England took an average of 59 minutes and seven seconds last month to respond to emergency calls such as burns, epilepsy and strokes, up from 51 minutes and 38 seconds in June and well above the target of 18 minutes.

It is just short of the longest response time on record for this category of incidents, which is one hour, one minute and five seconds, set in March this year.

Response times for urgent calls, such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes, averaged three hours, 17 minutes and six seconds.

This is up from two hours, 53 minutes and 54 seconds in June, and is also just below the record for this category of three hours, 28 minutes and 12 seconds, which was set in March.

Meanwhile, the number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high, standing at 6.7 million at the end of June.

This is up from 6.6 million in May and is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

The number having to wait more than a year to start treatment stood at 355,774 in June, up from 331,623 the previous month.

The Government and NHS England have set the ambition of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025.

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