63,491 people in our area waited more than four hours in A&E last year

22 Jan 2024
Empty chairs in a waiting room

The number of patients waiting more than four hours in Weston-super-Mare local A&Es has risen by 133% compared with four years ago, Liberal Democrat analysis of House of Commons Library research reveals.

The data showed that across the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust (UHBW) area, 63,491 people waited over four hours in 2023, 36,271 more than in 2019, a 133% increase. UHBW operates A&E departments at Weston General Hospital and Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The data also revealed that the number of patients who waited over 12 hours to be seen in A&E in the UHBW NHS Trust rose from 8 in 2019 to 4,303 in 2023. 

In England as a whole, there were nearly 6.5 million waits of over four hours in 2023, up nearly 3 million since 2019. This comes as Liberal Democrat research revealed that the NHS budget is facing a £4.7 billion cut this year when inflation is taken into account. 

Conditions can worsen significantly for patients who are not promptly seen, and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has previously estimated that there were 23,003 excess patient deaths in England in 2022 associated with long waits.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to reverse its near £5 billion of real terms cuts to NHS funding over this year and next, and invest more in local health services including A&E. 

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Weston-super-Mare, Councillor Patrick Keating, said: “Every year A&E delays keep getting worse under this Conservative government as hospitals in our area are starved of the funding they need. 

“These appalling delays are leaving often vulnerable and elderly patients in our area waiting for hours on end in overcrowded A&Es. Of course, Weston General Hospital has also had its overnight A&E shut by the Conservatives, adding to the pressure.

“It is simply unthinkable that Rishi Sunak is now choosing to slash funding for the NHS further, while appalling figures like this are emerging. This will just pour petrol on the flames of the NHS crisis.

“Weston-super-Mare deserves so much better than this Conservative government that is ignoring the suffering of patients and driving our health service into the ground. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to fix the NHS and ensure people can access the care they need.”