Commenting on the new statistics for urgent and emergency care performance published today by NHS England, John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said:
‘Only four major hospitals met the government target that 95 per cent of patients should spend less than four hours in A&E departments during the last quarter of 2015/16. This accounts for just 3 per cent of the 138 major hospitals in England. Today’s figures underline the challenge facing NHS trusts as they battle to reduce their record deficits and maintain performance against key targets.
‘The figures also reveal that, taking 2015/16 as a whole, 92 per cent of patients spent less than four hours in urgent and emergency care departments, the worst performance since 2003/04. Particularly high levels of ‘trolley waits’ and record levels of delays in discharging patients in 2015/16 may go some way to explaining this. Improving services not just inside but also outside hospital and investment in social care could help to reduce the numbers of people that need hospital care as well as speeding their discharge home.'
Notes to editors:
‘Trolley waits’ are when patients wait more than four hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E.
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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 care is available to all.