Ambulance responding to an emergency

NHS improves ambulance times despite record summer demand

The health service has improved ambulance response times for the third month in a row despite record levels of demand in emergency departments, NHS England has announced.

Emergency departments saw more than 6.5 million visits across June, July and August, working out at around 24,000 more than the 2019 record of just below 6.5 million.

In spite of this, category two response times were over 10 minutes faster last month (31:30) than they were in August 2022 (42:37).

Meanwhile, category one calls were down almost a minute in August (8:17) compared to last year (9:08) – this is in the face of demand for face-to-face responses spiking by 5% in relation to 2022.

                                                                         Video credit: Canva

The NHS also draws attention to the improvements in average waits for elective care; the median waiting time in July for admitted treatment was 11.3 weeks – the lowest since last December. The median wait for non-admitted elective care was also down to 8.2 weeks in the same month.

“But even as we talk about a summer of record demand we have already been preparing for winter, and the improvements seen in today’s data show the hard work of staff is already paying off,” said NHS England’s national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, Professor Julian Redhead.

This comes after health leaders met with Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay earlier this week, which was soon followed by the roll out of a £200m NHS winter resilience package.

However, the NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Matthew Taylor, questioned how much impact the investment would have this close to winter, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing industrial action.

Image credit: iStock

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