Worrying winter performance figures as 12 hour trolley waits top the thousands

Nuffield Trust responds to the latest NHS England Combined Performance Summary and Winter Situation Reports.

Press release

Published: 09/01/2020

Responding to NHS England’s Combined Performance Summary and Winter Situation Reports, Nuffield Trust Chief Economist Professor John Appleby said:

“These would be dire performance figures for any December but what’s worrying is that we are still awaiting the truly cold winter weather that we know will plunge the NHS into further problems.

“Once a rare and almost unthinkable event, in December over two thousand people waited more than 12 hours on a trolley to be admitted to a bed on a hospital ward. Last month also saw over 98,000 people waiting more than four hours on a trolley. We warned this could top 100,000 as winter goes on and at this rate it could get even worse. Missed targets are now the norm with more than one in five people attending A&E waiting longer than four hours to be admitted to hospital, transferred or discharged home.

“This pressure is spreading out across the entire system. 2020 started with over 18,000 ambulance handover delays, where paramedics are desperately trying to get patients in need of treatment into the hospital before heading out to their next call.

“The Government has started to put in a lot of extra money for the NHS from last April, but this shows just how long it is going to take for it to be felt by patients and staff.”  

Notes to editors

  1. NHS England’s combined performance summary contains monthly data for November and December and can be seen here.
  2. The Winter Situation Reports published today show daily data for the weeks from the 9th December to 5th January.
  3. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health 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.
  4. For further comments or to arrange an interview, please contact Kirsty Ridyard 020 7462 0555 or Mark Dayan at 020 7462 0538.