latest health care news


‘Rocketing demand’ sees NHS performance figures drop as winter approaches

Last month saw the lowest percentage of NHS patients seen within four hours for any October since records began as the NHS’s latest performance figures do not bode well for the upcoming winter pressures.

New statistics show that the NHS missed its two-week cancer target for the sixth month running, and the number of people waiting longer than the 18-week elective care target has risen by a third in the last 12 months against a backdrop of “stark” increases in admissions and waiting times across England.

The performance figures released by NHS England show that there has been a 3.6% increase in A&E admissions compared to this time last year when “extremely challenging” winter conditions saw the highest figures ever recorded for the number of patients waiting in trolleys for more than four hours in A&E.

The BMA said the figures should “ring alarm bells” for the NHS as winter approaches and “rocketing demand leaves A&E patients facing unacceptably long waits to be seen or admitted.”

According to the statistics, 48,650 more people were forced to wait more than four hours from decision to admit to admission, and 212 had to wait more than 12 hours.

NHS Partners Network’s chief executive David Hare responded to the statistics, saying that the ongoing shortage of elective capacity meant that “patients are having to wait unacceptably long periods for vital procedures,” which causes significant pain and disruption if left untreated.

He said that it is “essential that investment urgently gets to the front line” and that spare capacity in the independent sector is utilised this winter to ensure patients can access the fastest possible care.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), stating staff shortages are “at the heart” of the missed targets, highlighted the fact that 3,000 people have waited more than a year for hospital treatment.

Tom Sandford, the director of RCN, said: “No one should be waiting this long, yet the number of patients on the waiting list has grown 78% in a year – everywhere you look you see our healthcare system buckling under the strain.”

NHS Providers said that “these figures show that as we head into the most difficult time of the year, trusts are already overstretched.”

It said that staff “have worked incredibly hard” on meeting A&E performance’s four-hour target despite increasing demand, but that although more people in A&E are being admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, the number of patients facing severe delays after a decision to admit them has risen sharply.

Image credit - Darwin Brandis

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of t


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >


Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership: Hope

17/02/2020Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership: Hope

Independent consultant and strategic advisor Dean Royles continues his series on The Unappreciated Qualities of Leadership. You can find links to his previous pieces here. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >