The King's Fund responds to NHS performance data for January

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Responding to NHS performance data for January 2016 published today by NHS England, John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said: ‘Today’s figures underline the scale of the challenge for NHS trusts struggling to meet demand for services within current financial constraints. More than one in ten patients are waiting longer than four hours in A&E, the worst performance for more than a decade. The number of patients waiting in emergency departments to be admitted to hospital has risen to almost 52,000, the worst since ‘trolley waits’ started being recorded, and delays in discharging patients are at their highest level since February 2009.

‘These figures are symptomatic of the perfect storm through which NHS trusts are trying to steer – with pressures on services across the board. Most trusts are operating with very high bed occupancy which makes it difficult to respond to unexpected fluctuations in admissions. This is compounded by delays in discharging patients, which prevents beds being freed up for new patients. Today’s figures suggest it will be a long winter for the NHS.’

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