A&E waiting times
The four-hour A&E waiting time target is a pledge set out in the NHS Mandate. The operational standard is that at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.
The Government's mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 put the four-hour waiting time target on hold. It stated that the NHS must "deliver aggregate A&E performance in England above 90% in September 2018, with the majority of trusts meeting 95% in March 2019, and aggregate performance in England at 95% within the course of 2019".
This indicator explores breaches of the four-hour A&E target since 2008. For in-depth analysis of what's causing increasing A&E waits, see our report Focus on: A&E attendances.
See also our Combined Performance Summaries, which present up-to-date information on some key NHS performance measures as data are released by NHS England.
The NHS Improvement Chief Executive wrote to trusts in October 2017, which resulted in some trusts altering reporting in two ways:
a) Including non-co-located Type 3 attendances in their own returns
b) Including "new pathways of care" in their returns
The UK Statistics Authority subsequently raised concerns. An assessment exercise has now raised questions over the inclusion of up to 26,000 pathways of care per month in October, November and December 2017. It is estimated that national A&E performance in previous months could have been affected by between 0.11 to 0.18 percentage points. NHS trusts have confirmed that none of this "new activity" was included in performance reporting for January and February.
For more information, please see the Urgent & Emergency Care Attendances January 2018 Commentary.