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Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
UK News

Call for NHS prayer as A&E waiting times hit rock bottom

by Aaron James

Figures for December reveal just 86.2 per cent of A&E patients were seen within the four hour target - the worst percentage since the target was introduced in 2004.

Stats showed cancer treatment in the NHS has hit a record low as well, with the number of people waiting more than two months to start it after an urgent referral was the highest ever in 2016. 25,157 patients waited more than two months to urgently start cancer treatment - up from 23,760 in 2015.

The inability to move discharged patients from hospital beds was also worse than ever last year. 2,157,155 hospital days were lost because of so-called 'bed-blocking' in 2016, up from 1,747,318 in 2015.

Chris Radburn/PA Wire

On the back of the figures, Labour has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of losing control of the NHS and causing patients to suffer.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour Dr Alan Palmer, deputy lead chaplain for Ipswich Hospital, said: "These headlines do hurt.

"If people could actually get more of an inside view and see how it is operating and the good things that are happening in the NHS - some of the press, maybe they're focussing just on the negatives and they need to have a look at some of the real positive things that are happening here.

"We chaplains are in there trying to help as well. We would appreciate your prayers for the hospitals... that God would give us resilience and strength, and the way forward in taking care, particularly of the elderly."

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Despite the pressures of winter more than 54,000 people were seen within 4 hours in A&E every day during December - notwithstanding the NHS experiencing its busiest ever day on 27 December.

"This is a tribute to the hard work of all NHS staff who prepared for winter earlier than ever before- supported by an extra £400 million of funding - to cope with the extra demand."

Listen to Premier's Marcus Jones speaking to Dr Alan Palmer on the News Hour:

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