The King’s Fund’s response to January NHS performance data

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Richard Murray, Director of Policy for The King’s Fund, said: ‘Today’s data shows the NHS is still under significant pressure. The proportion of people being seen in four hours in hospital A&E units is now at its lowest level for more than a decade, the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments has reached a new high, and hospital bed occupancy remains well above recommended levels.

‘One of the main reasons for this pressure is an alarmingly sharp rise in emergency admissions in January, which were 6.8 per cent higher than in January last year. This has given hospitals a near impossible task in coping with demand for their services, so huge credit should go to the staff whose hard work and dedication has ensured a very difficult winter has not been even worse. Staff cannot be expected to continue absorbing this pressure indefinitely – a sustainable funding settlement and new workforce strategy are urgently needed.’

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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.