'Busiest November on record' for ambulance and emergency care services

08 December 2022

Responding to the latest figures from NHS England released today, Miriam Deakin, interim deputy chief executive and director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"Trust leaders have been working flat out to prepare for what they expected would be the toughest winter of their careers. Today's figures show the true scale of that challenge, reflecting the busiest November on record for ambulance and emergency care services.

"We know, too, that demand for mental health services has risen sharply since the pandemic and that community services continue to support a backlog of patients waiting for care.

"While ambulance response times have improved slightly in the last month, they are still a long way from where they need to be and trust leaders are concerned that looming strike action together with the extremely cold weather will add even more strain.

"Data from last week also shows increases in flu, norovirus, diarrhoea and vomiting bugs, which have impacted hospital capacity. Bed occupancy is now around 95% – above levels considered safe.

"The need to invest more in capacity in social care and community settings means thousands of medically fit patients ready for discharge remain in hospital every day. That has a knock-on effect on patient flow through the system, adding to delays at every stage.

"As temperatures drop over the coming week, NHS staff will continue to do all they can to respond to the uptick in emergency demand and recover backlogs."

You can follow our analysis of the latest winter figures from NHS England through our NHS Winter Watch campaign.