Record number of patients waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted into A&E in hospitals in England

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan has been visiting the country's hospitals, meeting the staff under strain

A record 12,986 people had to wait more than 12 hours to be admitted into accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England in December.

The figure from NHS England's data is an increase from 10,646 in November and is the highest for any calendar month since records began in August 2010.

And 120,218 A&E patients waited at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission in December. This is slightly below the record of 121,251 in October.

Just 73.3% of patients were seen within four hours, the lowest proportion since records began in November 2010. In November, the figure was 74% and in December 2020, the figure was 80.3%.

Routine hospital treatments

Meanwhile, six million people in England were waiting to start routine hospital treatment in November - a new record high since records began in August 2007.

The number of people waiting more than a year to start treatment was 306,996 in November. This is a decrease from 312,665 in October but an increase of 60% from 192,169 in November 2020.

For those waiting more than two years, the number was 18,585. This is up from 16,225 at the end of October and is around seven times the 2,608 people in April.

NHS England has told hospitals to eliminate all waits of more than two years by March 2022.

The number of people admitted for routine treatment in November was 276,535 – an increase of 24% from 222,810 in November 2020.

However, in November 2020, figures were lower than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic in November 2019, 301,928 patients were admitted for routine treatment.

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Staff absences

A total of 40,031 hospital staff in England were absent due to Covid on January 9 - an increase of 2% from 39,142 in the previous week.

But the number of staff absences is still more than three times the number at the start of December, which stood at 12,508.

However, hospital staff absences due to Covid have dropped every day since reaching a peak of 49,941 on January 5.