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NHS performance data points to more ‘tough times’ ahead

What do the latest NHS performance figures show?

NHS England figures on the state of the NHS reveal ‘just how tough things are’, says Nuffield Trust think-tank chief economist Professor John Appleby.

The combined performance summary, covering October, shows the NHS missing targets across a range of services, including ambulance response times, A&E attendances and referral to treatment.

The health service was also straining to deal with rising demand for emergency admissions and cancer tests, among others.

Professor Appleby said: ‘With one in 14 people in England now on a waiting list, we are getting to the point where no family is immune from the growing pressures facing our health service.

‘Almost 50,000 people waiting to be admitted to hospital were stuck on trolleys in October — a rise of 54% compared to this time last year — and over one in 10 people waited longer than four hours at A&E. This already matches performance in the depths of winter last year and is deeply troubling.’

Director of policy at the King’s Fund think-tank Richard Murray echoed the concern: ‘The number of patients ready to be discharged but delayed in hospital continues to increase, with more than 200,000 bed days lost over the course of a month for the first time ever.

‘This highlights the impact of social care budget cuts on NHS performance, which is why senior figures from both the health and social care sectors have made the case for the government to increase funding for social care.’

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