NHS Providers responds to record-high A&E attendance and delayed discharges

12 January 2023

Responding to the latest monthly performance figures and weekly winter sit-reps from NHS England, which show record-high A&E attendance and delayed discharges, Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"Trusts are now busier than ever as A&E attendances and delayed discharges reach record highs.

"With pressure bearing down on the NHS from almost every direction, trust leaders are contending with exceptional seasonal challenges amid ongoing strike action that has no sign of a resolution.

"This is compounded by bed occupancy not only remaining above safe levels but being the highest on record: more than 14,000 patients a day remain in hospital when they are medically fit to leave, which shows that social care desperately needs more investment to increase capacity.

"It's vital the £250m funding announced earlier this week by the government to free up beds and ease pressure on the NHS reaches the frontline without delay.

"Delayed discharges also seriously impact handover times from ambulances into hospital, with 36,000 hours lost to delays last week. Staff across acute, ambulance, mental health and community services fear this precarious situation will worsen.

"In these unprecedented times for the NHS, trust leaders are doing all they can to ensure safe, high-quality care for patients – resulting, in part, in a welcome reduction in elective care waiting lists. This is a remarkable achievement, but there is still a very long way to go.

"The government needs to talk to union bosses about pay to avoid more strikes and publish a fully funded and costed workforce plan to address the huge staff shortages. We also advise everyone offered a COVID-19 booster or flu vaccine to get jabbed to combat the risk of serious illness and to help to ease pressure on health services."

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