Commenting on the latest monthly NHS hospital performance data, Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst, The King’s Fund said:
‘Despite significant progress being made in reducing the number of people facing very long waits for planned hospital treatment, the overall waiting list has continued to grow to 6.5 million people1 and the NHS is still fighting battles on multiple fronts. The latest data2 shows 12,000 patients every day remained stuck in hospital despite being well enough to be discharged, in part due to overwhelming pressure on social care services.
‘Delayed discharges are bad for patients and use up beds that are desperately needed for people who need to be admitted to hospital. In May more than 19,000 people waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E3 – a 27-fold increase on a year ago. And while some ambulance service response times have improved compared to the previous month, patients are still waiting nearly 40 minutes for an ambulance when they should be waiting no longer than 18 minutes4. These increasingly commonplace long waits for emergency care are not just frustrating; they are potentially dangerous.
‘Long waits for care and delayed discharges from hospitals were a concern long before Covid. But the NHS has shown in the past that it can deliver rapid improvements to patient care when it has enough staff to tackle these challenges. The lack of a fully funded staffing plan for health and social care is still the main barrier to returning waiting times to acceptable levels. And until the government grasps the nettle on these staffing challenges the NHS will not have the capacity it needs to deliver the care patients need and deserve.’
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 latest monthly performance data published by NHS England is available at:
Statistics » Hospital discharge data (england.nhs.uk)
Statistics » Ambulance Quality Indicators (england.nhs.uk)
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.