Our response to new NHS England monthly figures

Nigel Edwards responds to new combined performance figures from NHS England.

Press Release

Published: 14/01/2016

Commenting on new figures from NHS England showing that targets for A&E waits, cancer referral and ambulance response times were missed overall by NHS Trusts in England during November, and that the number of delayed transfers was the second highest since recording began in August 2010, Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust health think tank, said:

These new figures are particularly worrying given that they only cover November, when the weather was exceptionally mild and winter had not even properly begun – the fact that there have been such dips in performance so early in the season does not leave the Health Service in a good position to cope with the rest of winter.

Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive

“These new figures are particularly worrying given that they only cover November, when the weather was exceptionally mild and winter had not even properly begun – the fact that there have been such dips in performance so early in the season does not leave the Health Service in a good position to cope with the rest of winter.  

Of particular concern again is the picture on delayed transfers of care – the number of delayed days in November was not quite as high as the peak reached the previous month, but is still the second highest since collection of the data began five years ago. And although the number of patients delayed is only a snapshot taken at one point in the month, this was still the highest number recorded since recording began. 

Everyone agrees that hospital is not the best place for most of these patients once their medical treatment is finished – the issue of delayed transfers is fast becoming the biggest problem many NHS Trusts are facing.

The fact that so many targets – not just on A&E waits but also on ambulance response times and waits for cancer treatment – are now routinely being missed every month lays to rest the idea that a few poorly performing Trusts are dragging down the rest. Failure to meet the targets now seems to have become the norm rather than the exception”.

Notes to editors