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NHS struggles to meet targets as more demand for services grows

Published on 18/03/19 at 11:12am

The NHS is struggling to meet targets as the health service is being used by more patients than ever before, according to data published by NHS England.

The data shows that 1.65 million A&E attendees were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. While 84.2% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours – marking a 6.3% increase since February last year – A&E departments still failed to meet targets of 95%. The 95% mark was last met in July 2018.

The mean average ambulance response times across England in 2019 were seven minutes and 17 seconds for Category 1 incidents and 23 minutes and 17 seconds for Category 2. The averages fell short of their respective seven minutes and 18 minute targets.

Meanwhile 14% more people were seen for cancer referrals in the year prior to January 2019. A total of 91.7% were seen by a specialist within two weeks – falling just short of the 93% standard.

Nevertheless there was 31% increase in the number of patients waiting more than six months for non-emergency operations with 228,000 patients waiting more than six months.

“These statistics are further proof that, despite treating more patients than ever before, the NHS is being overwhelmed,” said Nick Ville, director of policy at the NHS Confederation.

“Hospitals and other local services are facing huge increases in demand at a time of constrained funding and 100,000 staff vacancies. Despite local NHS trusts working harder and more effectively than ever, we are seeing far higher A&E attendances and admissions than at the same point last year.”

Louis Goss

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