Accident & Emergency at Milton Keynes Hospital has just suffered its worst-ever week, according to new figures from NHS England.
The statistics show that more than one in four people treated at MK hospital A&E last week had to wait more than four hours to be admitted, discharged or transferred.
Local Labour politicians blamed government spending cuts, and said that this showed the urgent need for better funding for the NHS in Milton Keynes.
Andrew Pakes, prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “These latest figures show the real pressure on Milton Keynes Hospital as it responds to growing demand. We have an amazing NHS team in Milton Keynes doing an impossible job as best they can.
“The reality is the hospital simply does not have the resources we need for a new city of our size.
“The government needs to drop its spin and face up to the chaos it has caused in the NHS. After four years of false promises and neglect we need a real solution to fix the NHS.”
Overall the figures meant that 72.8 per cent of patients arriving at A&E, during the week ending January 11 ,waited more than four hours. This was the 10th worst figure of any hospital in England.
The Milton Keynes Citizen is currently leading a city-wide campaign for a new A&E department to be built at Milton Keynes Hospital.
However the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently holding a review which could instead see the A&E department significantly downgraded, with many services and patients instead treated at Bedford Hospital.
The hospital also had to cancel 41 planned operations, more than twice the national average and more than four times as many as any other week over the last two months.
Emily Darlington, prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes North, said: “The crisis at our hospital is also a crisis of Westminster politics.
“Our MPs have not done enough to make sure that our growing city has enough doctors, nurses and social care staff. They are responsible for the way our hospital has been under-funded over the last five years and their cynical election promises are simply too little, too late.”
Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, replied that his Labour oppoents were displaying “very poor politics”.
He said: “I think it has become evidently clear that Ed Miliband’s candidates are seeking to ‘weaponise’ the NHS in Milton Keynes. Not only is that a great shame but it is very poor politics. Mark Lancaster and I have relentlessly lobbied for extra funding since before becoming Members of Parliament. We have pushed Ministers on all levels and will continue to do so. We have had successes over the past 12 months including a £2.9million extension to the A&E.
“The NHS continues to face challenges across the UK with services in more and more demand. Mark and I have and will be pushing hard to achieve the ambitious expansion that the Hospital is aiming for. I would suggest the Labour candidates stop trying to destroy the reputation of our hospital, which is trying its best to improve, for their own political interests. There are now more doctors and nurses in Milton Keynes plus there has been an above inflation increase in NHS spending over the last 5 years, including the third largest increase in the country next year.”
Hospital chief executive Joe Harrison said: “We are still seeing high numbers of patients who cannot be discharged from hospital when they no longer need acute care because of a lack of capacity among community providers. As a result, we have had to cancel some planned operations, which I know is very frustrating and disappointing for patients who have been waiting for treatment.
“The number of patients requiring emergency care, many of whom are very acutely unwell and need complex care, has also meant longer waits for patients in the A&E department on some days. Again, I appreciate how distressing and frustrating longer waiting times are, and I assure you we are working very hard to keep waiting times to a minimum whilst delivering safe, effective care.
“This weekend we treated more than 95 per cent of patients with the four-hour access target. We will continue to manage this period of high demand safely and with as little impact on patient waiting times as possible, as we further our plans to expand and develop our A&E department so it meets the needs of our growing community.”