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Ipswich: More people are spending longer in A&E says Labour - but hospitals say they are busier than ever

06:00 19 August 2014

An opposition taskforce has said figures published by the NHS show there are now more people spending longer in A&E departments than when the party was last in office.

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But Ipswich MP Ben Gummer defended the government, saying the country’s hospitals are now treating more people than ever.

The Labour Southern Taskforce has used NHS statistics on the time patients spent in A&E for major injuries or illnesses to show a rise in the percentage of people spending more than four hours there.

The figures for Ipswich Hospital show 3,258 patients were not seen within this target time in the 2013/14 financial year, a 2.2 percentage point rise from 1,089 in 2009/10, which was the year Labour left office.

The taskforce said there was “a crisis in our NHS” and that “in the last year, almost a million people have waited more than four hours to be seen at Accident and Emergency departments”.

They also called the figures a “damming addition to this Government’s already poor record on the NHS”.

But Conservative MP Ben Gummer, who represents Ipswich, said the town’s hospital was performing well.

“Let’s get the facts straight first of all. We are treating more people in the NHS than ever before,” Mr Gummer said.

“There are fewer people going over waiting time targets than when we took office so the NHS in Ipswich is working incredibly hard and are producing ever better results.

“The long and short of it is that at the last election we were the only party to promise to put more money into the NHS.

“We have delivered on that promise and that is why not only are we treating more people but we have seen specialist services come back to Ipswich Hospital like the heart unit which I and the East Anglian Daily Times and patients had campaigned so hard for.”

A spokesman for Ipswich Hospital said: “Our emergency department has seen an unprecedented number of people this year.

“We have had our busiest days ever this summer and we work closely with all of our partners, including GPs, community services and other volunteer organisations, to make sure that people access the care they need in the right place at the right time.

“The EADT and Ipswich Star has really helped us with the Make the Right Call campaign this summer.

“The latest figures show that we in fact have met the national access standards of 98% of patients being seen within four hours.

“We have also managed to reduce the length of time that ambulance crews are able to hand over their patients to us in.”

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