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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the latest NHS performance statistics

Commenting on the latest monthly NHS performance data and weekly winter performance data, Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘These figures show that the NHS is still not meeting the majority of its most important performance targets this winter. On some measures, the situation is better than this time last year, in part thanks to efforts to increase capacity as well as relatively low hospital admissions from Covid-19 and flu, but patients are still not receiving an acceptable level of service.  

‘Only 69% of people are seen within four hours in A&E compared to the NHS standard of 95%, people are waiting 46 minutes for an ambulance for urgent cases such as strokes when the target is 18 minutes, and 12,200 patients a day remain in hospital despite being well enough to be discharged. Behind each of these figures is a person who is struggling to receive the timely care they need and deserve, despite the best efforts of staff.

‘During this challenging winter period, the NHS is prioritising access to the most critical urgent and emergency care services. But pressures are widespread across the health and care system, including ongoing industrial action over NHS staff pay, and working conditions impacting the speed of elective recovery. With the waiting list for routine care at 7.6 million, it is increasingly unlikely that the Prime Minister’s pledge to improve waiting-list performance by this March will be met.  

‘The NHS attempted to increase its capacity ahead of winter, for example by expanding the use of virtual hospital beds to care for people in their own homes. However, it remains hamstrung by repeated short-term decisions, such as the delayed release of additional winter funding that helps NHS and social care services prepare for winter.

‘To end this cycle of poor performance, the government must make long-term decisions to put the service back on track year round. This includes making health and care a more attractive place to build a career, bolstering out-of-hospital care such as primary, community and social care services, and helping people live healthier lives through a focus on preventing ill health.’

Notes to editors

  1. As political parties prepare for the upcoming general election, The King's Fund has identified three priorities where national action from a future government can help 'fix' the NHS and social care and improve people's health: The King's Fund's priorities for health and care at the next general election | The King's Fund (

  2. The King's Fund published a new briefing on the funding to reduce delayed discharge over winter 2022-23: Hospital discharge funds | The King's Fund (

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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 health and care is available to all.

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