13 April 2017
John Appleby

John Appleby

Director of Research and Chief Economist
Nuffield Trust

This morning, NHS England released the official monthly performance data for February 2017, showing a slight improvement over the previous month.

For interactive charts and analysis on the development of these measures over time, please explore our indicators.

The Nuffield Trust has issued a statement on the data which can be read on their website.

Waiting times

Hospital admission waits

Elective waiting times

A&E

4-hour waiting time target

A&E attendances

A&E Emergency admissions

Trolley waits

Number of departments meeting targets

Cancer waits

Cancer waits

Delayed transfers

Delayed transfers of care (patients)

Comments

It’s interesting and seldom commented on that the number of A+E attendances is generally higher in the summer months, while breaches of 4 hour A+E targets, admissions and trolley waits are higher in winter. This shows up as untrue the Government excuse that the crisis in A+E is due to “too many people attending A+E”, inappropriate use of A+E and so on. The fact is that it is the numbers of sick people requiring admission and the lack of beds that is the reason for the crisis. The lack of beds is both an absolute and relative thing. The UK has fewer beds per head than most developed countries, a result of the relentless programme of bed closures over past few decades which is still ongoing (supposedly allowed for by the virtually non existent “care in the community” programme). The relative lack of beds is due to the difficulties of discharging patients who need community based care, and this is due to social care cuts. And while some admissions may have been prevented by better GP care we now have fewer GPs per head than in 2000, not enough practice nurses, district nurses or community matrons. The Government has no joined up policy.
Dr Louise Irvine (not verified)
(changed )

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