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NHS performance data shows waiting times falling further behind

08 Feb 2018

NHS performance data published today shows there has been a further decline in the percentage of patients seen within four hours of attendance at a major Accident and Emergency (A&E) department in England.

The statistics show that in January 2018, 77.1% patients at major A&E departments (‘type 1 units’) were treated within the four-hour government target – well below the 95% target. This was worse than in January 2017, when 77.6% of patients were seen within four hours of attending A&E. 

The data published by NHS England today also reveals that 88.2% patients were treated within 18 weeks to start planned treatment in December 2017 – well below the 92% government target.  This was worse than compared to the same period in December 2016 when 89.7% patients waited more than 18 weeks to start treatment, and is the worst figure since March 2009.

Last month NHS England advised hospitals to defer non-urgent inpatient planned care until the end of January and that day-case procedures and routine patient appointments should also be deferred where this would release clinical time for emergency care.  Although this was intended to help relieve some of the pressure on hospitals and avoid last-minute cancellations for patients, today’s figures suggest it may not have been enough to stop the deterioration in A&E waiting times.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons said:

“These performance figures show just how tough it was for hospitals this winter, with further lengthening of waiting times in A&E despite cancellation of planned surgery to free up capacity.

“Surgeons and other frontline NHS staff are working tirelessly to provide the best care possible to patients. But today’s figures show that these short term measures to create extra capacity in the NHS are insufficient to meet NHS performance targets.  We currently do not have adequate funding or capacity in our health or social care services and we need to urgently find a long-term solution.”

Notes to editors

1. Full data available here:

2. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

3. For more information, please contact the Press Office:

Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052


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