Pressure persists as A&E and ambulances face higher than pre-pandemic demand

14 March 2024

Latest NHS England figures show:

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive, NHS Providers, said:

"Demand for and pressure on many stretched NHS services is through the roof but trusts and staff continue to work flat out to see patients as quickly as possible.

"Thanks to trusts' hard work, increased activity means waiting lists for planned hospital care are shrinking and the longest waits are being reduced in the face of sustained high demand. The number of people waiting more than 65 weeks is down by 60% compared to its peak in June 2021 and the number waiting more than a year is at its lowest since March 2022.

"Urgent and emergency care is still under constant pressure, though. Ambulance callouts and A&E attendances both experienced the busiest January and February ever.

"Hospitals, with wide support from mental health and community services, are focused on the national target of seeing 76% of patients within four hours in A&E. Together, health system partners have made improvements since a low of 65% just over a year ago but the challenge to reach that target within this month is really testing amid record demand.

"And in the wake of a five-day strike by junior doctors the threat of more, disruptive industrial action across the NHS, hitting patients and staff, hasn't gone away.

"Delays discharging patients from hospital persist too. More than 13,200 beds are taken up every day by patients fit to leave but can't, often in part due to limited resources in the community. The waiting list for community services waiting list has fallen slightly but referrals to mental health services continue to increase well above pre-pandemic levels."