NHS Providers view: A&E performance and linked media coverage
09 January 2017
The last few days have seen a wave of media coverage on current NHS accident and emergency department performance and how well the NHS is coping with the pressures the service experiences at this time of year.
Much of the comment and media coverage seeks to extrapolate what this current performance means for the wider state of the NHS. Our new briefing aims to set out the facts without underplaying the very real current pressures.
The NHS is, by and large, coping with this unprecedented pressure but there are a very small number of places which, for short periods of time, are failing to cope, despite best efforts. We understand the current aggregated daily situation reports show the following:
- Very few trusts are performing well, as measured by meeting the seeing 95% of A&E patients within the four-hour standard. We expect overall NHS performance for last week against the standard to be between 70 and 80%.
- The vast majority of trusts are coping with the demand, in terms of avoiding persistently long trolley and 12-hour waits but some are struggling to do so.
- There is a small number of trusts who are failing to cope with the demand and who have seen persistently large trolley and 12-hour waits. These tend to have lasted for short periods as corrective management action kicks in. Clearly, any incident of unavoidable harm is unacceptable and trusts are doing all they can to avoid them.
We therefore believe the suggestion that the NHS, as a whole, is “in meltdown”, “is failing to cope” or “faces a humanitarian crisis” is, at this point, an exaggeration. We believe this statement is compatible with the fact that the NHS is currently facing huge, unprecedented, pressure.
Our briefing provides more analysis of current performance levels in A&E.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson was interviewed by Channel 4 News on the issue of NHS performance, which can be viewed on the Channel 4 website.