Responding to today’s NHS performance figures, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Professor John Appleby said:
“Today’s figures remind us that the NHS is fighting a losing battle in trying to meet its commitments to provide timely health care in the face of the pressure it is under. There is a risk that we lose sight of these problems as Brexit distracts us, or become numbed as we forget the last time targets were met. But this situation has a serious impact on hundreds of thousands of patients, and will be demoralising for many staff.
“The proportion of patients spending more than four hours in A&E has risen to 15.6% in January – the highest ever in this set of data. It looks like the gap between the service’s capacity and the care we need from it is widening. Only two major emergency departments in England met the four hour target and attendances have risen by an astonishing 85,000 compared with January last year, increasing through the winter when they would usually fall. Last year there was widespread concern as we saw trolley waits balloon, yet today’s figures show an even higher level.
“In planned care, the proportion of people waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment is at its highest level for ten years. This month also marks three years since the service last met the target for patients urgently referred with cancer to start treatment within two months.”
Notes to editors
- NHS England’s latest Combined Performance Summary, released this morning, provides waiting times figures for December and January and can be seen on their website here.
- Their latest Winter Situation Report was also released this morning. It tracks winter indicators such as bed occupancy and norovirus outbreaks and can be seen on their website here.