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RCS responds to NHS performance data for December 2017

11 Jan 2018

Today’s NHS performance data shows a significant decline in the percentage of patients seen within 4 hours of attendance at a major A&E department.  Waits in A&E during December in England were the worst since the target was introduced in 2004.

Statistics published today show in December 2017, 77.3% of patients at major A&E departments (‘type 1 units’) were treated within the four hour government target – well below the 95% standard.  This was worse than in December 2016, when 79.3% of patients were seen within 4 hours in A&E. The total number of A&E attendances at major units was 1,290,242 in December 2017, compared to 1,277,133 in December 2016. 

The data published by NHS England today also reveals that 89.5% patients were treated within 18 weeks to start planned treatment in November 2017 – 2.5% below the 92% government target.  This was worse than compared to the same period in November 2016 when 90.5% patients waited more than 18 weeks to start treatment.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons said: 

“December’s A&E performance is disappointing and shows a system under pressure. It further demonstrates why it has been necessary to cancel patients’ non-urgent procedures until the end of January. 

“Despite the best efforts and dedication of NHS staff to treat patients quickly, waiting times for non-urgent care have also deteriorated again in the past year. 

“Last week, NHS England advised that hospitals 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 will release clinical time for emergency care.  Although this should help relieve some of the pressures on hospitals and avoid last-minute cancellations, it is a short term solution and will cause huge disruption to those patients whose appointments and operations have been cancelled. The fact remains that we do not have adequate funding or capacity in our health or social care services.”

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:

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