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RCS comment on May's NHS Performance Stats

13 Jul 2017

NHS England have today published NHS performance data for May 2017.

On 31 March NHS England published the Five Year Forward View Update which announced that meeting the A&E target would be a priority for the NHS during the coming year with the planned waiting time target deprioritised. However, today’s data shows that A&E performance is continuing to decline. 89.7% of patients were seen within 4 hours in all A&E departments in May 2017. This is lower than 90.5% the previous month and 90.3% for the same month last year. Performance is even worse for major A&E units. Only 84.6% of type 1 A&E units met the 4 hour target compared to 85.4% the previous May and 85.7% in April.

The 18-week target for planned care continues to be missed although there was an improvement in performance compared to April – not inconsistent with May performance in previous years. However, the number of patients waiting more than 6 months for treatment has increased dramatically. 142,416 patients waited longer than 6 months for treatment in May 2017. This is a 4.7% increase from the previous month when the same number was 136,030 and 185.8% higher than in May 2016 when 49,834 patients were waiting longer than 6 months.

Ian Eardley, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons commented:

“Today’s performance data presents a mixed picture. On the positive side the deterioriation in performance against the 18 week target has slowed slightly and delayed discharges from hospital seem to be reducing compared with other recent months.

“However, the number of patients waiting more than six months for treatment has increased dramatically even in just the last month. We have warned this could be a consequence of deprioritising the 18-week target and it will not have been helped by decisions over winter to delay planned surgery to help prioritise emergency patients.

“It is also disappointing that A&E performance is worsening despite that this is now a higher priority for NHS England and the Government. The NHS needs to better understand why this has happened and whether recently announced measures are sufficient.

“Patients in the NHS can continue to expect good quality treatment but today’s data underlines the challenge currently facing us to improve timely access to surgery and other treatment.”

Notes to editors

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.

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