Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Press release on increase in A&E waiting times and cancelled ope

Following a challenge to Nick Clegg during Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions on the increase in A&E waiting times and cancelled operations nationally, Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman today said:

“I am extremely concerned by the massive increase in cancelled operations at Kings College Hospital which has trebled in the last year.

“This means people being forced to wait even longer in pain for essential, life changing operations like knee and hip replacements.

“With A&E waiting times nationally now at a 9 year high, the Government must act now on this growing crisis in our hospitals.

“I want to see the Government implement Labour's 5 point plan for relieving the pressure on our hospitals, sorting out the 111 service, tackling staff shortages, reviewing all planned A&E closures and downgrades including Lewisham hospital”.


Note to Editors:

Following an A&E Summit, convened by the Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham last week in Westminster, Labour has developed a 5 point A&E Rescue Plan to ease the pressures on A&Es across the country.

Labour is calling on the Health Secretary to:

1.     Provide immediate support for social care. Deep cuts to Local Authority budgets that pay for elderly care mean that fewer older people are getting the care they need at home, so more are having to be admitted to hospital and many get stuck in hospital beds at the end of their treatment too because the help isn’t there at home. Use £1.2 billion of the 2012/13 Department of Health under-spend (£2.2 billion) to shore up social care over the next two years (2013/14 and 2014/15).

2.      Call in all 111 contracts for review. Evidence is emerging that cost-driven 111 contracts are resulting in large falls in the numbers of cases referred to nurses. An NHS Direct Open Forums presentation shows the number of nurse referrals has fallen from ~60% through NHS Direct to 17% with 111.

3.      Intervene to ensure all hospitals have safe staffing levels. A recent HSJ survey revealed that over a quarter of Trusts are planning to cut the number of nurses over the next year and one in five plan to lay off doctors.

4.     Halt the closures of NHS Walk-In Centres. Await the review being conducted by Monitor of NHS Walk-In Centre closures and the impact of closures on the local community and the NHS.

5.     Review all planned A&E closures and downgrades. Across England A&E closure and downgrade proposals are proceeding that were drawn up using A&E data that does not reflect the current situation. The Secretary of State should personally review, on a case by case basis, the very latest evidence relating to all on-going A&E closures and downgrades, to establish whether or not they are safe.


Data from the last 5 years on cancelled operations at Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Number of elective operations cancelled  for non clinical reasons at King's College Hospital

As at January - March:


Annual % change
















Source: NHS England Cancelled operations data series



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