NHS performance summary
- In April 2022, 28% of people attending A&E spent more than four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge – the worst performance for any April since records began.
- Trolley waits increased to record levels – in April 2022, 24,138 patients waited over 12 hours from a decision to admit to admission, 46 times higher than in April 2021.
- The mean ambulance response time for emergency incidents exceeded 51 minutes in April 2022, with one in ten patients waiting almost two hours.
- As of March 2022, 306,286 patients were waiting for over one year for planned hospital treatment – 264 times higher than the level seen pre-pandemic in March 2019.
The analysis below includes the latest data on key activity and performance measures up to March and April 2022, as published by NHS England on 14 April 2022. This includes data on the NHS's performance against some key targets, including some of those set out in the latest planning guidance, as well as other indicators of patient safety and care.
A&E waiting times
- In April 2022, 28% of people attending A&E spent more than four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge – this compares to 15% of patients in April 2021.
- Trolley waits – the time between a decision to admit and a patient being admitted – are at very high levels. In April 2022, 131,905 people had a trolley wait of over 4 hours and 24,138 people waited over 12 hours.
- There were over 2 million A&E attendances in April 2022 – this is 9% higher than in April 2021 and more than double the number in April 2020 (when attendances dropped at the outset of the pandemic).
- • Emergency admissions via A&E were 11% lower in April 2022 (360,010) than before the pandemic in April 2019 (405,439).
For more information, see our A&E waiting times indicator.
Ambulance response times
- • In April 2022, the average ambulance response time for Category 1 (life-threatening) incidents decreased on the previous month to 9 minutes 2 seconds – the mean target of 7 minutes has not been met since April 2021.
- The average ambulance response time for Category 2 (emergency) incidents decreased to 51 minutes 22 seconds in April 2022, which is almost three times greater than the 18 minute target. The 90th centile response time was 1 hour 56 minutes 34 seconds, almost three times the 40 minute target.
For more information, see our ambulance response times indicator.
Planned hospital care
Consultant-led treatment waiting times
- The waiting list for people waiting to start consultant-led elective treatment increased to 6.36 million in March 2022, the highest level since records began.
- The waiting list for people waiting over 52 weeks to start elective treatment increased slightly to 306,286 in March 2022. This is much higher than pre-pandemic levels – for example, in March 2019 the waiting list for people waiting over 52 weeks was 1,154.
- In March 2022, 16,796 patients had been waiting over two years for planned hospital care, a 28% decrease from the previous month. It is worth noting that two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, the number of new referrals fell by 60%, so this may be reflected in the drop in two year waits.
- 25% of patients waited over 6 weeks for a diagnostic test in March 2022; this remains above the levels before the pandemic. In March 2019, 2% of patients waited over 6 weeks.
Cancer waiting times
- In March 2022, 33% of patients who had their first treatment for cancer following an urgent GP referral waited longer than two months - a improvement of 5.3 percentage points from the previous month.
- The overall number of patients starting their first treatment for cancer increased in March 2022 to 15,409, the highest activity for 2021/22.
- 5,031 patients waited more than two months for their first treatment for cancer following an urgent GP referral in March 2022, 52% higher than the target to return the number of people waiting longer than 62 days to the level in February 2020 (3,316).
For more information, see our cancer waiting time targets indicator.
About this data
During this unprecedented time for the health service, QualityWatch continues to provide independent scrutiny of the health and social care system. The most recent data published today reflects changes in access and service compared to pre-pandemic healthcare delivery. It is also worth noting that NHS England have suspended data collection for some of their performance statistics, including delayed transfers of care.
In March 2019, the Clinically-Led Review of NHS Access Standards Interim Report was released, proposing some significant changes to many of the targets reported on here. A six-month Progress Report from the NHS Medical Director was also published in October 2019. Field testing of the proposed new standards began in 2019 and NHS England consulted on the recommendations for urgent and emergency care.
For urgent and emergency care, the field test sites have not been submitting four-hour performance data since May 2019. The time series presented here excludes the field testing sites and so is comparable across months and years. For elective care, performance of the field test sites will continue to be included in the national time series, so the data is fully comparable over time.
For interactive charts showing the quality of health and social care over time, please refer to our 200+ indicators.