Commenting on new NHS performance figures , Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Prof John Appleby said:
“July 2018 was the most pressured summer month for A&E departments in recent history, showing that there’s no doubt this summer’s heatwave has caused severe strain on the NHS. It is usual for A&E attendances to spike during the summer , but this year they were the highest since monthly reporting began in 2010 - a 4.9% increase compared to July 2017. At the same time, emergency admissions via A&E were up 7.3% since this time last year, and long trolley waits were also significantly higher than a year ago.
“Figures from today’s GP patient survey  serve as a reminder that these pressures are not isolated to A&E. One in three people who wanted to speak to a GP when their practice was closed say they went to A&E instead.
“What’s more, planned treatment waiting lists continue to grow relentlessly, now topping 4.3 million, and 3,500 people have been waiting more than a year. Meanwhile, more than a fifth of cancer patients are waiting over two months to start treatment - the highest since current records began.
“Despite the best efforts of NHS staff, the health service does not appear to be able to reverse the now well-established trend of declining performance against key waiting time targets.”
Notes to editors
- The latest Combined Performance Summary, a compilation of NHS performance statistics released today, can be seen here. It gives figures for A&E up to July 2018, and planned care up to June 2018.
- Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation analysis of A&E attendances found a correlation between outside air temperature and A&E admissions, with a 1 degree rise in air temperature associated with a 1% rise in A&E attendances.
- The GP Patient Survey 2018 results can be found here. 2,221,068 questionnaires were sent out nationally, and 758,165 were returned completed between 2nd January and 31st March 2018.
- The Nuffield Trust is an independent health policy think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate. www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk
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