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Press release

The King's Fund responds to latest NHS performance stats

Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics, Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Today’s performance stats show there was no summer reprieve for under-pressure health services, and they come at a time when the NHS is in the spotlight for poor performance and culture. 

‘There continue to be real issues with how long patients are waiting for care in key services, including in A&E where 73 per cent of people are being seen within four hours, which is below the government’s 76 per cent recovery target and well below the 95 per cent NHS standard people are entitled to.  

‘The figures also show that the number of people on the waiting list for routine hospital care has grown to 7.7 million. Continued industrial action, including next week’s unprecedented combined junior doctor and consultant strike, will hinder the NHS’s ability to clear this backlog. The Prime Minister made tackling waiting lists one of his key priorities, but the longer industrial action rumbles on, the less likely that ambitions will be met.  

‘The real question is how the NHS got to this point and therefore how it gets out of its current cycle. Under successive governments, short-term thinking has slowly run the NHS into the ground, with ministers instead opting for quick fixes to patch up major problems. Today’s announcement of £200 million more funding to boost winter capacity in the NHS is welcome, but to free up beds and staff in hospitals, there needs to be a fundamental focus on bolstering capacity in community and primary care settings as well as social care reform. 

‘The impact of widespread ill health and the parlous state of the National Health Service will be a key battleground in the upcoming general election. Any government that is serious about reversing the decline in NHS performance will need to think long term about improving people’s access to out-of-hospital care, making health and social care a more attractive career, and tackling the biggest risk factors affecting people’s health.’ 

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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