THE GOVERNMENT admitted yesterday that there were still problems in hospital accident and emergency departments but claimed that new figures showed the National Health Service was getting better.
The "performance indicators" published by the Department of Health revealed that during the past year 13.1 per cent of patients admitted through casualty were not placed in a bed on a ward within four hours of a decision to admit them. But it says that no comparison is possible with previous years because no figures are available.
The delays are an "indicator of emergency access to hospital beds and a proxy measure of the patient's experience", the report says. "The intention is to reduce the number of long trolley waits and ensure that patients are seen, treated and admitted or discharged rapidly and appropriately."
The problems in casualty departments provoked a political storm last week after the family of 94-year-old Rose Addis complained about her treatment at the Whittington Hospital in north London.
The affair also cast the spotlight on the NHS complaints procedure, and the report reveals that the percentage of written complaints resolved at the local hospital within four weeks dropped by 8 per cent in the past year. …