Published: 31/10/2002, Volume II2, No. 5829 Page 7

The government has painted an 'overly optimistic picture' of how hospital accident and emergency departments are meeting targets on waiting, according to a study published by the British Medical Association today.

The government says that nearly 80 per cent of all A&E attendees spend four hours or less in A&E.But half of the respondents in the study of 160 A&E consultants did not agree. The government has also said waits of over 24 hours for admission to a hospital bed have been eliminated. But the survey suggests that one in five departments had patients waiting for more than 24 hours in the week before the survey. The longest reported wait was three-and-a-half days.

www. bma. org. uk