The King's Fund responds to the new NHS figures

Commenting on the latest figures released from the NHS, John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Despite a very mild December, today’s figures reveal that 9 per cent of patients are waiting more than four hours to be treated in A&E, almost double the government target of 5 per cent. Nine out of 10 major A&E departments missed the target, a target that has not been met for 18 months nationally.

‘The proportion of patients still waiting for a planned hospital admission after 18 weeks has breached the target for the first time since it was introduced in April 2012. There are now 3.5 million people on the waiting list, this is equivalent to the populations of Greater Manchester, Bristol and Southampton combined.

‘These missed targets are symptomatic of wider pressures facing the NHS; it is struggling with a growing financial crisis while trying to meet growing demand. This is in spite of a financial settlement for the health service which, although generous compared to some other areas of spending, leaves the NHS in the grip of the biggest sustained funding squeeze it has ever faced.’

Notes to editors: 

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health 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 care is available to all.