120,000 people in the Lewes area waited more than four hours in A&E last year

9 Feb 2024
James MacCleary outside the Victoria Hospital, talking to a constituent

The number of patients waiting more than four hours in Sussex A&Es has risen by 659.2% compared with four years ago, Liberal Democrat analysis of House of Commons Library research reveals.

The data showed that across Sussex, 120,101 people waited over four hours in 2023, 104282 more than in 2019, a 659.2% increase.

The data also revealed that the number of patients who waited over 12 hours to be seen in A&E here rose from 3 in 2019 to 202 in 2023.

In England as a whole, there were nearly 6.5 million waits of over four hours in 2023, up nearly 3 million since 2019. This comes as Liberal Democrat research revealed that the NHS budget is facing a £4.7 billion cut this year when inflation is taken into account.

Conditions can worsen significantly for patients who are not promptly seen, and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has previously estimated that there were 23,003 excess patient deaths in England in 2022 associated with long waits.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to reverse its near £5 billion of real terms cuts to NHS funding over this year and next, and invest more in local health services including A&E.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Lewes, James MacCleary, said: “Every year A&E delays keep getting worse under this Conservative government as hospitals in our area are starved of the funding they need. In 2019 only 3 patients had to wait 12 hours to be seen. In 2023 it was more than 200. That is catastrophic.

“These appalling delays are leaving often vulnerable and elderly patients in our area waiting for hours on end in overcrowded A&Es.

“It is simply unthinkable that Rishi Sunak is now choosing to slash funding for the NHS further, while appalling figures like this are emerging. This will just pour petrol on the flames of the NHS crisis.

“Lewes deserves so much better than this Conservative government that is ignoring the suffering of patients and driving our health service into the ground. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to fix the NHS and ensure people can access the care they need.”


House of Commons Library data can be found here.

NHS real terms spending cuts data can be found here.

Data from the RCEM can be found here.