Atlantis Medical News

NHS figures for A&E targets hit lowest level

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26 FEB 2019

It is common knowledge that the NHS is under pressure, so it is no surprise to learn that targets are being met for many departments. A recent publication by NHS England indicated that overall A&E performances for January of 2019 stood at 84.4% with the target being 95%. This is the lowest return since records began in this current format, in 2010. The previous lowest figure was March of 2018 when a return of 84.6% was recorded.

A major issue for the drop in figures was an increase in demand. Over the course of January 2019, there were a total of 546,000 emergency admissions. This was the highest number on record and an increase of 7.2% higher than the figures from January of 2018.

Two trusts achieved positive scores

There were only two trusts in the country who achieved or ranked higher than the target figure. Luton and Dunstable University Hospital achieved a score of 98% while North Tees and Hartlepool recorded a return of 95.4%.

NHS England released a statement saying; “Despite real pressure particularly over the past few weeks, thanks to NHS staff the health service has seen improved performance since the start of December compared to last winter, with thousands of more people successfully treated in A&E within four hours than last year, significantly faster responses to life or death 999 ambulance calls, and unlike last year no national cancellations of routine surgery.”

John Appleby is the chief economist of the think tank, and he spoke at length about the issue, saying; “There is a risk that we lose sight of these problems as Brexit distracts us, or become numbed as we forget the last time targets were met. But this situation has a serious impact on hundreds of thousands of patients, and will be demoralising for many staff. The proportion of patients spending more than four hours in A&E has risen to 15.6 per cent in January – the highest ever in this set of data. It looks like the gap between the service’s capacity and the care we need from it is widening.”

The NHS faces significant challenges in 2019

The challenges being faced by major emergency departments was outlined by Mr Appleby when he stated that attendances have increased by 85,000 compared to the figures from January of 2018. It would normally be expected that these figures would fall in winter, but this hasn’t been the case with respect to these figures. With only two of these departments in the whole of England meeting the four-hour target, it is clear that significant improvement needs to occur, but of course, this is an issue across the NHS.

The Nuffield Trust also spoke on the matter, saying the figures “remind us that the NHS is fighting a losing battle in trying to meet its commitments to provide timely health care in the face of the pressure it is under”.

At Atlantis Medical, we know all too well the pressure the NHS is under and the tremendous work being carried out by many professionals in trying circumstances. There is no denying that there is a need to support nurses and medical professionals, but it remains to be seen whether this will occur. Brexit has impacted the landscape to such an extensive degree that it is difficult to see where any clarity will appear in the next few months or even years.


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