A&E wait times through the roof with 1,711 waiting over 4 hours

12 Jan 2023

In West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, 1,711 people waited over 4 hours to be seen in December

Meanwhile, the average ambulance response time for the most urgent incidents in the East of England was 11:54 in December – well in excess of the NHS target of 7 minutes. 

Response times for urgent conditions such as heart attacks and strokes are even longer. Ambulance response times in East of England for these Category 2 emergencies are now 2:06:00: way above the 18-minute target.

The Liberal Democrats have set out a five-point plan to tackle the ambulance service crisis. The party is demanding the Government release the money they promised to help discharge patients from hospitals, as soon as possible. 

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper said:

“The Government’s failure to tackle the crisis in our NHS is letting down people in St Albans down and putting patients’ lives at risk. How much more evidence do Ministers need? They either don’t care or just can’t grasp the scale of this problem. 

“Unacceptable and heartbreaking delays mean the Government is falling far short even on its own targets. 

“Far too many people in St Albans are having to wait far too long to get the treatment they need. In many cases, this is literally a matter of life or death. People in our area deserve far better.

“Our NHS isn't just at breaking point - it’s splitting at its very seams. We need action from the Conservatives. Liberal Democrats are demanding the Government release the money they promised to help discharge patients from hospitals, and launch a campaign to recruit the extra paramedics and ambulance staff we need.”


Local Ambulance and A&E Wait Times: Ambulance and A&E Statistics - Dec '22 - Local Release

Ambulance Crisis - 5 Point Winter Plan

  • Launch a campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance service staff. 
  • Bring forward a fully funded programme to get people who are medically well enough discharged from hospital and set up with appropriate social care and support. 
  • In addition to getting people out of hospital so that they get care in a more comfortable setting, the number of beds in hospitals needs to be increased to end excessive handover delays for ambulances, caused by a lack of bed capacity. 
  • Expand mental health support services to get people the appropriate care they need and reduce the number of call outs for ambulances for mental health reasons. 
  • Pass Daisy Cooper MP’s Ambulance Waiting Times Bill into law that would require accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published. This would ensure that ‘hot spots’ with some of the longest waiting times can be identified routinely. 12 hour waits at A&E should also be published from arrival at hospital rather than the ‘decision to admit’ as is current practice, so that the true scale of the problem is clear for all to see.

Ambulance Categories and Targets

These figures refer to Category 1 incidents: An immediate response to a life threatening condition, such as cardiac or respiratory arrest. The NHS target is an average response time to these incidents of 7 minutes, and for 90% of them to be responded to within 15 minutes. Source.

A&E Targets

Four-hour A&E waiting time target is a pledge set out in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution. The operational standard is that at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. Source