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Trusts ‘cannot keep up’ despite record performances in latest NHS performance figures

The NHS has fallen further behind its performance targets as the provider sector’s deficit hits £1.23bn despite trusts seeing, admitting, treating and discharging more patients than ever before.

In NHS Improvement’s latest report on the performance of the NHS provider sector, figures showed that hospitals admitted nearly 1,000 more emergency patients a day and nearly 2,000 more a day within the four-hour target compared to last year.

The Q2 report, which covers performances from June to September, reported that despite vacancies for doctors and nurses still standing at over 100,000, hospitals were treating over 5.5 million patients within the four-hour target.

On top of this, hospitals were able to discharge patients sooner, freeing up the equivalent of 2,500 beds in time for winter.

Despite these achievements, waiting times for planned treatment increased and the sector’s deficit is forecast to reach £558m by the end of March.

NHSI argues that the NHS long-term plan will “set out a clear path to recovery and for sustaining and improving patient care in England over the next decade.”

Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHSI, commented that the NHS “is working flat to ensure record numbers of patients get the care they need,” and that “frontline staff and managers deserve tremendous praise for their heroism.”

Responding to the report, chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said: “These figures reflect a very difficult summer for trusts and their staff as they have worked flat out to grapple with an unholy combination of rapidly rising demand, an ongoing financial squeeze and a once in a generation workforce shortage problem.

“Once again, trusts have delivered a heroic performance, treating more patients than ever before within the A&E target, improving discharge rates, and continuing to deliver stretching levels of financial savings.”

He stated that the reality was that however hard trusts work, “they cannot keep up with the growth in demand for care.”


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