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The King's Fund responds to the latest hospital performance data

Commenting on the latest NHS hospital performance statistics for September and October, Deborah Ward, Senior Analyst at The King’s Fund recently said: 

“Today’s stats reveal the worst performance since current records began for ambulance calls, A&E departments and waits for planned hospital care. In a normal year any one of these would ring alarm bells; taken together before winter has even begun they suggest a health and care system running hot for such a sustained period while still dealing with Covid-19, it is now on its knees.

“Patients are facing very long waits to be seen and admitted in A&E departments; performance against the four-hour target for major A&Es stands at a record low of 61.9 per cent (against a 95 per cent target), while the majority of hospital trusts are now also reporting patients waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted. The waiting list for planned care stands at 5.8 million and while NHS staff are working flat out to tackle this backlog, around 1.5 million people – half the population of Wales – are joining the waiting list each month. We must remember these are not just big numbers – they are people living with pain and anxiety awaiting treatment, in some cases for more than two years.

“Chronic workforce shortages heap further pressure on overstretched staff who are exhausted from the pandemic and will be the rate-limiting factor in the government’s ambitions to tackle the backlog and boost NHS activity and performance. Yet workforce has become a blindspot for the government; without a multi-year, fully funded workforce strategy the health and care system continues to face declining performance.”

Notes to Editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

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.


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