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Hospital overcrowding ‘killed 500’ in 2014, top doctor says

Overcrowded hospitals ‘killed 500’ last year, a leading A&E doctor has claimed Credit: PA

Overcrowded hospitals "killed 500" patients last year, a leading A&E doctor has told The Observer.

A study by the College of Emergency Medicine found that 350 deaths were caused by people not being treated fast enough, while another 150 who died were not admitted because of bed shortages.

Dr Clifford Mann, the college’s president, said: “It’s sobering that up to 500 patients a year die because too many of our emergency departments are too often overcrowded. It’s a cogent reminder to the people who run the NHS that overcrowded emergency departments are just unacceptable and dangerous."

The college said its estimates were based on international studies that show patients who arrive at emergency departments when hospitals are overcrowded are at greater risk of dying.

NHS England said: “Unprecedented numbers of patients are accessing services, and staff are dealing with the highest-ever number of 111 and ambulance calls, A&E attendances and emergency admissions."

It said it had put £700m into the NHS to fund an extra 700 doctors, 4,500 nurses and more than 3,000 24-hour GP services, 999, 111, A&E and community and social care services.

Ebola nurse pays tribute to the medics who saved her life

The British nurse who was on the brink of death from Ebola, left hospital tonight saying she is "happy to be alive."

Pauline Cafferkey spent almost a month in a special isolation unit in London, after the disease struck when she returned from voluntary work in Sierra Leone.

Now completely free of the virus, she paid tribute to the hospital staff who saved her life.

Rebecca Barry reports.

David Cameron praises 'brave' British Ebola nurse

Prime Minister David Cameron has praised nurse Pauline Cafferkey for her bravery following her complete recovery after contracting the Ebola virus.

Mr Cameron said it was "great" seeing her look so well after her battle with the disease.


Scottish nurse out of hospital and free from Ebola

Pauline Cafferkey contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and spent three weeks in hospital. Credit: PA

Scottish nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone has made a complete recovery and been discharged from hospital.

Pauline Cafferkey is now free of the virus after more than three weeks in hospital, where she was critically ill for a time.

She said she is "happy to be alive" and thanked staff at the Royal Free Hospital in London who she said saved her life.

I feel quite weak, but I'm looking forward to going home. I want to say a big thank you to the staff who treated me... They saved my life."

– Pauline Cafferkey

Ms Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Glasgow and was initially admitted to the city's Gartnavel Hospital on December 29th, then transferred to the Royal Free the following day.

The nurse, from Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, had volunteered with Save The Children at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town before returning to the UK.

'Real risk' of charges in NHS under Tories, Labour warns

Labour claims that planned Tory spending cuts mean a 'real risk' patients will face more charges for NHS services Credit: PA

Conservative spending cuts pose a "real risk" of NHS patients being charged for services, Labour has claimed.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told The Guardian that his analysis of developed countries with a lower proportion of public spending as a share of GDP showed that people paid more of their personal cash for healthcare.

In Switzerland, OECD's 2012 figure showed public spending at 33% of GDP and out-of-pocket expenditure at 28% of total expenditure on health, while Mexico had public spending at 27% of GDP and personal spending made up 44% of health expenditure.

The 2012 figure for the UK was public spending at 45% of GDP and out-of-pocket spending accounting for just 10% of healthcare funding. The Tories' strategy is to reduce public spending to 35% of GDP in 2019-20.

"This is what the overseas experience shows if you go to these extreme levels of low public spending," Mr Balls said. "There is a real risk that a second Tory government will introduce charges."

The Conservative Party has said that it will protect health funding. The Chancellor has announced an extra £2 billion of funding for 2015/16 as a "down payment" for future increases.

NHS 'at breaking point' as A&E still missing targets

NHS staff say they are working at breaking point as the latest figures show waiting times at accident and emergency departments in England are still above the target level.

A&E units are expected to treat at least 95 per cent of patients within four hours. While figures for last week show they reached 92.4 per cent - an improvement on last week's 89.8 per cent - an increase in cancelled operations and bed blocking has sparked warnings that the health system is struggling to cope.

ITV News health editor Rachel Younger reports:

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