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NHS England sees 'sharp increase' in A&E visits

There was a "sharp increase" in the number of people attending Accident and Emergency departments in England last week, figures show.

The target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours was also missed for an 85th week in a row.

Attendances went up more than 20,000 to 426,500, NHS England said. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Attendances went up more than 20,000 to 426,500, compared with 406,200 the previous week, NHS England said.

The percentage of patients waiting four hours or less from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge was 91.5% - down from 92% a week earlier.

55% of Brits believe immigration negatively impacts NHS

More than half of Britons believe immigration has a negative impact on the NHS, according to a new ComRes/ITV News poll.

More than half of Brits say immigration negatively impacts the NHS. Credit: PA Wire

About 55% of those questioned said immigration had a detrimental effect on the health service, while 40% claimed it had a negative impact on the economy.

However, most Britons (44%) said immigration has no impact on their ability to find a job and did not effect them personally (51%).

The results come after official figures showed net migration had increased to 298,000 in the year to September - despite the Government pledging to cut numbers to the "tens of thousands" by the general election.

ComRes interviewed 2,059 British adults online between February 20 and 22 as part of the poll.

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Healthcare devolution: A 'poisoned chalice' for councils?

Experts have voiced concerns over the potential risks - both financial and in terms of quality of care - in proposals to give councils in Greater Manchester full control over the region's health budget.

Richard Humphries, assistant director of the King's Fund think tank, said the changes - on the "nuclear end" of the spectrum - could turn out to be a "poisoned chalice" for local authorities.

Depending on the detail - and the detail is really crucial and we don't have that yet - you could either see this as a triumph for local democracy or creating real risks of yet another reorganisation of the NHS when it's barely recovered from the last one.

If the plan is to give the money to local government, the words 'chalice' and 'poisoned' perhaps spring to mind.

– Richard Humphries, King's Fund

Devolving health budgets 'will create postcode lottery'

Handing over healthcare budgets to local councils risks creating a postcode lottery for patients, with differing priorities and levels of care between different regions, critics have warned.

It comes after surprise government plans emerged to hand Greater Manchester councils responsibility for its entire £6 billion NHS budget.

Ukip health spokeswoman Louise Bours said the plans could be 'disastrous' Credit: PA

Ukip health spokeswoman Louise Bours said the plans opened the door for councillors to use the money for political purposes rather than for the good of the local population.

What the Tories are proposing for Manchester is a recipe for yet another disastrous postcode lottery in the health system.

What qualifications do they have for this role? Who will be accountable? Who can we blame when it all goes wrong?

It will simply lead to the kind of unfairness we have already seen in the Scottish system, when residents there get free prescriptions for instance, while the rest of the country does not.

– Louise Bours, Ukip

Osborne: Manchester NHS plan 'very exciting'

George Osborne has confirmed the Government is "discussing a plan" to give Greater Manchester control over its entire NHS budget.

The Chancellor called it "a very exciting development", saying: "We have a National Health Service, but we also want to have people in Manchester having greater control over their own affairs."

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A&E wait time target missed for 20th week in row

Accident and emergency departments in England have failed to meet the target of 95% patients seen within four hours for a 20th week in a row, new figures reveal.

A&E departments have failed to meet waiting time targets once again. Credit: PA Wire

NHS England said 91.6% of patients were seen within four hours in the week ending February 15 - a marginal decrease from 92.9% the previous week.

The number of admissions also increased to the highest levels since Christmas with 420,700 patients - up from 407,000 the previous week.

Dr Barbara Hakin, National Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England, said the increase had resulted in a "slight impact on waiting times".

Government to crackdown on whistleblower bullying

Legislation on whistleblowers will be fast-tracked in response to a major report into how thousands of NHS staff have been been bullied by colleagues after raising concerns about patient care, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

The review, lead by Sir Robert Francis QC, found some NHS staff were driven to the brink of suicide after voicing their concerns.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

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