Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



NHS Providers calls for realism as the latest performance figures revealed

There’s good and bad news in the latest performance statistics released by NHS England. Some positive progress has been made towards reducing delayed transfers of care from hospital but the situation in A&E departments continues to worsen.


In March 2018, overall performance against the four-hour target fell to 84.6% and only five major A&E departments met the target. This is the lowest level since data collection began. Compared with March 2017, the number of patients who waited longer than four hours to be admitted increased by more than 50%, 31,000 more patients presented at A&E and emergency admissions rose by 3.3%.


Responding to the figures, Phillippa Hentsch, Head of Analysis at NHS Providers says: “These figures underline the urgency of the problems facing the NHS. They reflect the continued severe winter pressures we saw in March. But they also highlight the fundamental lack of capacity – in terms of beds and staff – to meet the standards expected of the NHS, and that Trusts and frontline staff want to deliver.


“This is a problem right across health and care, including hospitals, mental health and community Trusts, ambulance services, and social care. Trusts and staff are working flat out, treating more patients than ever. But as our recent report [Tough Task] showed, the pressures they face will only intensify in the year ahead.


“The findings from the British Social Attitudes survey, show the public understands these concerns, and is prepared to pay more for the NHS. We welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to long term sustainable funding for the health service. But that makes no immediate difference to the difficulties Trusts face in the coming year.


“We need to ensure funding reflects the task in hand. We must be realistic about the demands faced by the NHS. And we must ensure frontline organisations play a full part in preparing for the challenges ahead.”


Nuffield Chief Executive, Nigel Edwards says the NHS has “pulled out all the stops to stay afloat this year.” This has necessitated at times drastic action, including deferring planned treatment and breaching rules around mixed sex accommodation, but the figures reveal no let-up in the pressures on the health system even after the end of the traditional winter period.


“The number of days that patients were delayed in hospital, despite being ready to leave, has dropped by 25% compared to this time last year - an impressive achievement in the current environment. But even with these steps, 76,054 people waited for longer than four hours on trolleys for admission to hospital in March,” he says.


“The NHS simply cannot go on like this. Running a health system so close to capacity is highly risky and doing so endangers patient safety, as well as staff wellbeing. The Prime Minister has rightly signalled a more sustainable financial settlement for the NHS. This must ensure that the whole system - both inside and outside of hospital - is able to cope with the levels of demand for healthcare now and in the future.”