Health Secretary admits more A&E staff 'definitely needed'

A&E departments have seen a million more patients this year than last.
A&E departments have seen a million more patients this year than last. Photo: Press Association

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told ITV News he wants to see more staff in A&E departments to help struggling hospitals cope with increased demand.

He said that even though there were 6,000 more doctors than at the time of the last election, more staff were needed, as Labour allowed GPs to withdraw from out of hours schemes, which Labour disputes. Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports.

The health secretary's comments come after the College of Emergency Medicine warned that chronic understaffing levels is putting patients at risk.

Their report said that departments are struggling to cope with "unsustainable workloads" as the amount of people visiting A&E increased by one million last year, bringing the total to 18,300,190.

Read: A&E collapse fears as departments 'struggle to cope'

Labour said Hunt's admission was shocking in light the "chaos" and job losses the government has presided over.

This is a shocking admission from Jeremy Hunt - his Government has presided over the loss of 4,500 nurses since the election, and now he says that more A&E staff are needed.

With A&Es in crisis and the NHS in chaos following the Tories' £3 billion NHS reorganisation, it's time Ministers accepted responsibility and got a grip.

Watch: Husband dies 'after ambulances delayed at A&E'

The College of Emergency Medicine have welcomed the comments, saying they hope to work with the Department of Health to help address the present "workforce crisis."