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

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

‘The NHS is still under significant strain, with many patients struggling to access services. The latest figures paint a grim picture, with only 74 per cent of patients seen within four hours at A&E, rather than the target of 95 per cent; people waiting just under 32 minutes rather than the target of 18 minutes for an ambulance for the most serious emergencies; and 11,900 patients remaining in hospital on an average day despite being medically fit to be discharged. 

‘Following on from the publication of the elective recovery taskforce report last week, today’s figures show that the elective waiting list has grown to 7.6 million, and 1.6 million people are waiting for a test or scan in England. Tomorrow, thousands of NHS staff will again be on strike and these figures are now starting to show the impact industrial action is having on the NHS’s ability to clear the backlog. The longer the strikes go on, the less and less likely it is that the Prime Minister will meet his pledge to reduce waiting lists – for the sake of patients, it is imperative that all parties get around the table to resolve this issue. This emphasises how staffing issues make or break almost any target set for the service.

‘Additionally, as beneficial as the latest winter plan is to begin preparing for upcoming seasonal pressures, there needs to be a more strategic and long term approach to end the vicious cycle of short term interventions and poor performance all year round. That includes greater focus on prevention, implementing the NHS workforce plan and addressing the staffing crisis in social care, and improving access to care outside of hospital.’

Notes to editors

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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.