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A&E waiting time target missed for 27th week in a row

Figures show 92.4% of patients were seen within four hours. Credit: PA

The proportion of A&E patients seen within four hours is below target for the 27th week in a row, new figures show.

NHS England said 92.4% of patients spent four or less hours between arrival and admission, transfer or discharge in the week ending 5 April.

That meant the 95% target has been missed for every week since the end of September, though did mark an improvement on the previous week, when it stood at 92%.

The week saw 441,100 attendees in A&E, down from 445,000 in the previous week.

RCN: Coalition cut student nursing commissions

A report from the Royal College of Nursing said a significant contributing factor to the shortage of nurses in England are the cuts the Coalition Government made to student nursing commissions in 2010, falling by 13.5% by 2012 - a reduction of 3,375 places.

RCN: Coalition cut student nursing commissions. Credit: PA

The report said that as it takes three years for student nurses to qualify, these cuts are impacting on the supply of nurses right now.

A reliance on using agency nurses means that the NHS would have spent an estimated £980 million on them by the end of the 2014/15 financial year, the college said. It said that as with GPs, the nursing workforce is ageing, with around 45% being over 45.


Nursing chief: 'We warned cutting nurses was wrong'

The chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that the organisation had warned that cutting nursing workforce numbers was the "wrong course to take".

We warned that cutting the workforce numbers to fund the NHS reorganisation and to find the efficiency savings was the wrong course to take.

The cuts were so severe that we are only just catching up with where we were five years ago. Many areas, like district nursing and mental health, are even worse off.

While the health service has spent the last five years running on the spot, demand has continued to increase. Whoever forms the next Government must learn from this report and take immediate action to grow the nursing workforce, and ensure it can keep up with demand with a sustainable and long-term plan.

– Dr Peter Carter, chief executive & general secretary of the RCN

RCN: Community nursing workforce 'cut by 3,300'

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) report has also pointed out that the community nursing workforce has been cut by more than 3,300, despite NHS plans to move care from hospitals to the community. It said the headcount figure for nurses fell from 317,370 in May 2010 to 315,525 in December 2014, meaning there are 1,845 fewer qualified nurses in the workforce.

RCN: Community nursing workforce 'cut by 3,300'. Credit: PA

From May 2010 to December 2014 there has been a 28% reduction in the number of specialist district nurses, a loss of 2,168 posts across England.

New government 'must increase the number of nurses'

A report has warned that whichever party is elected next month, it must take immediate action to increase the number of nurses.

New government 'must increase the number of nurses'. Credit: PA

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that while the Coalition Government claims to have increased the number of posts during the past five years, there are actually fewer now than in 2010 if midwives, health visitors and school nurses are not included.

The college said a lack of political will to train nurses means that while 50,000 people applied to become nurses last year, there were only 21,000 places - meaning that there is no shortage of people wanting to do the job.

Farage 'strong argument' for rationalising 43 police forces

Nigel Farage Credit: PA Wire

Ukip leader Nigel Farage told supporters there was a strong argument for "rationalising" the 43 police areas.

On the campaign trail in Essex, Mr Farage said: "What we think is there there is a strong argument for rationalising the 43 police areas that exist at the moment, for bringing some of them together in bigger units and in doing so reducing some of the cost of bureaucracy."


Poll: Tories stay ahead as Ukip support slumps to two-year low

The Conservatives took a two percentage point lead over the Labour party while support for Ukip fell in a new opinion poll.

The online poll of 1,916 adults put the Conservative Party up three points on 36% and the Labour Party up one point on 34%.

Meanwhile support for Ukip fell three points to 11%, the lowest level in the poll since 2012, while the Liberal Democrats were unchanged on 7% and the Greens were down one at 6%.

Opinium Research surveyed 1,916 adults online on April 8 and 9 for the Observer newspaper.

Your first name 'may indicate who you will vote for'

Research by YouGov suggests that your first name could indicate how you might cast your vote in the election in May.

Those named Charlotte, Fiona and Pauline are more likely to vote Conservative while Sharon, Samantha and Clare are least likely to vote for the party, the research found.

Research by YouGov suggests that your first name could indicate how you might cast your vote Credit: PA Wire/YouGov

Meanwhile those named Michelle, June and Andy were found to be most likely to vote for Labour while Nigel, Nick and Jonathan are least likely to vote for them.

Tim, Kathryn and Samantha are most likely to vote Liberal Democrat, according to the research, while those named Lynne, Joan and June are least likely to go for the party.

Finally the survey shows those with the first name Jill, Nigel or Terry are most likely to vote Ukip, while people named Tom, Rachel, and Alan are most unlikely to vote for the party, according to the findings.

Farage: Labour-Tory battle over NHS 'a game of poker'

Nigel Farage

Ukip leader Nigel Farage described the Labour-Tory battle over the NHS as a "game of poker" in which whatever one party says, another party raises it.

He told Sky News: "It's all well and good to talk about an extra £8 billion by 2020, but there has been absolutely no suggestion provided as to where the money is going to come from.

"The real problem the NHS has got is that our population is rising so rapidly that we find ourselves desperately short of enough GPs and A&E facilities.

"If we were to keep our population at a reasonable number, I suggest it might be easier to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery."

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