The latest figures from NHS England have been released showing their performance over the last month. The data shows that while NHS trusts are performing well, they are already overstretched before the expected rise of admissions over winter.
This growing concern comes after fears that this winter will be more difficult than the last. The NHS Providers published their advisory report; Steeling ourselves for winter 2018/19, which discussed the difficulties facing the NHS this year despite the increase in funding for projects and social care.
What Do The Latest Figures Show?
The good news is that trusts are increasing their performance in A&E departments. A&E staff are seeing more people within the four hours compared to last month despite there being an increase in attendance. However, the number of A&E admissions in one month is the highest since records began, which is concerning in the run-up to winter.
Medical staff are seeing an increase in patients requiring more complex care. As a result, this is adding to the increasing numbers of A&E admissions. In return, this is causing growing pressure on the number of beds available.
The director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, explains; “Although more people in A&E are being admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, the number of patients facing severe delays after a decision to admit them has risen sharply.”
The recent statistics show that there has been an increase in 12-hour waits for trolleys. This is an increase of over 271% compared to the previous year. Furthermore, cancer performance has dropped with targets missed for the two-week urgent referral for the last six months in a row. However, the NHS is happy that more people have greater awareness and are seeking help.
Ultimately, the latest figures and delays show that the NHS is facing a severe pressure, which they only expect to increase in the following months as winter takes hold. There needs to be a strategy in place to recover the performance gaps and try to build up the capacity so that the NHS can manage all year round.