Winter pressures

This analysis tracks performance across 15 indicators over the past five years (from Spring 2010 to autumn 2015) to shine a light on the pressures hospital services experience in winter. 

Each year, NHS ‘winter pressures’ make the headlines, with attention centering on the performance of A&E units. We examine whether the focus on the four-hour A&E target for hospitals gives the full picture of pressures on NHS trusts.


NHS staff are working in a heavily resource-constrained environment and facing increasing demand for care. In this report we examined 15 key indicators of performance of the NHS in England over the most pressured time of year – winter (November to March) – focusing on 2014-2015, as well as looking back over the last five years. At the time of analysis, data for the winter 2015-16 were not yet available. While the winter of 2014–15 was mild, in some areas the performance of the NHS deteriorated, and in others it held up.

Tim Gardner
It's difficult to think of winter pressures without immediately turning to the A&E and ambulance performance statistics. But, winter is about so much more than that.
New report shows problems that are usually observed only during the winter months are increasingly being seen at other times of year