The King's Fund responds to the February performance statistics published today by NHS England

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Responding to the performance statistics published today by NHS England for February, Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said:

‘A record number of patients are waiting for urgent and emergency care, with 12 per cent of patients waiting more than four hours for admission, transfer or discharge, well over double the government target of 5 per cent. In major accident and emergency departments the performance is even worse with almost one in five patients (18 per cent) waiting longer than four hours, the worst performance for over a decade. The number of ‘trolley waits’ also remains high, with 15 per cent of patients waiting in emergency departments to be admitted to hospital, another unwelcome record high for February.

‘Issues in A&E are symptomatic of the mounting crisis NHS trusts are facing as they try to maintain services while under increasing pressure to reduce their unprecedented overspends. Emergency admissions to hospital continue to rise, up by 5 per cent over February last year. With rising admissions, compounded by increasing delays in discharging patients, hospitals have too few beds to meet demand. Better services 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.

‘NHS trusts have been to able meet the 18-week waiting time target for planned procedures, an achievement given rising levels of demand and financial pressures.’

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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.