NHS under severe and unsustainable pressure

13 April 2023

Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics and the ongoing strikes, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"Today's figures show the NHS is under severe and unsustainable pressure.

"Trust leaders and their staff have made remarkable gains bringing down the number of people waiting longest for elective treatment, which is no mean feat given the record-high staff vacancies, recent seasonal challenges and ongoing strikes.

"However, persistent challenges across urgent care are hindering progress on ambulance response times and A&E waits.

"We welcome NHS England publishing data on 12-hour waits from arrival at A&E for the first time, as this should help track trusts' recovery progress. Today's figure shows 11% of people waited over 12 hours in February. This is a real concern and reflects the incredible demand-driven pressures on trusts.

"Patient flow through the entire system, including in mental health and community services, is under strain with referrals and the number of people waiting on the rise.

"Trust leaders are desperately awaiting a long-term fully funded workforce plan, which should start to address staff shortages, exhaustion and burnout.

"It's clear the ongoing strikes are compounding pre-existing pressures, impacting patient care and hindering progress on care backlogs amid plunging workforce morale.

"We're at a critical juncture. Both sides of the current pay dispute – the government and unions – need to urgently open talks in good faith.

"We would welcome the use of an intermediary such as ACAS if that helps shift the dial, allowing trust leaders and staff to focus on their number one priority – the patients."

You can follow our analysis of the latest performance figures from NHS England through our NHS Activity Tracker campaign.