What story do the summer’s performance figures tell?
There is no let-up in the demand for treatment, say analysts of this month’s NHS performance stats.
Phillippa Hentsch, head of analysis for NHS Providers, says the latest figures suggest that we are in for another difficult winter, picking out the following lowlights:
- two of the three main cancer targets were missed in April
- the waiting time target for planned procedures (92% within 18 weeks) was missed: at the end of May 88.1% of patients waited less than 18 weeks
- there has been no improvement in A&E waiting times, which are the same as they were this time last year
Phillippa Hentsch warned: ‘We need urgent action now to head off much worse problems ahead in the coming winter. Funding is urgently needed to put in place the necessary staff, beds and other resources. We are fast approaching the time where it is too late for this year.’
Dr Kathy McLean, NHS Improvement’s medical director, commented to the Guardian that A&E waiting times had not got worse in the last year and that the number of bed days lost to delayed transfer of care was the lowest since April 2015. Dr McLean admitted there was still ground to make up, however, saying: ‘The new funding settlement is good news for the NHS and we need to ensure that every new pound spent provides the maximum benefit to our patients.’
NHS England: Combined performance summary
NHS Providers: No let up in the growing demand for treatment