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King's Fund - NHS performance stuck following another tough winter

Danielle Jefferies, Senior Analyst at The King’s Fund, commented on the latest monthly NHS performance data

‘As we approach the end of the winter period, it is possible to draw comparisons on how the NHS fared this season compared with last year. These latest statistics show that while winter pressures may not have dominated headlines as much as last year, the NHS is stuck in a cycle of poor performance. The narrative of waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive when a person has had a stroke has become normalised. While bed occupancy, flu cases, and delays to discharge from hospital are all relatively similar to last year, it is worth remembering that at the time many referred to winter 2022/23 as the toughest winter the NHS had experienced in recent memory.

‘The public is acutely aware of not being able to access all NHS services easily when they or their families need them. While the public stands by the principle of the NHS being free at the point of use, the latest British Social Attitudes survey shows that public satisfaction with how the NHS is run has fallen to 24% – the lowest level recorded since the survey began 41 years ago. Reasons for dissatisfaction include long waiting times for GPs and hospital appointments, staff shortages, and the view that the government does not spend enough on the health service.

‘While the latest NHS planning guidance for this year sets out ambitions to slowly improve performance, it will be a tough and long journey for the government to also recover public satisfaction. This will involve further progress to resolve industrial action, reduce lengthy waits for care, and improve staffing levels and investment. In the long term, the solutions to improving performance will lie in bolstering out-of-hospital care such as primary, community and social care services, making health and care a more attractive place to build a career, and ramping up efforts to help people live healthier lives.’

Contact the press and public affairs team.

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Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585. 

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all. 

Original article link: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/press-releases/nhs-performance-stuck-another-tough-winter

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