Worst A&E performance in June ‘since records began’

11 Jul 19

A&Es missed hitting their target of seeing 95% of patients in four hours by a record low in June, NHS England figures have shown. 

The NHS traditionally recovers performance in the quieter summer months but this is no longer happening, health leaders and politicians have warned.

NHS England data released this morning showed 86.4% of A&E patients were seen within the four-hour target period this June, down from 86.6% in May 2019 and 90.9% in June 2018.

The target of 95% of patients seen within four hours has not been met since July 2015.

Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said: “Historically, the summer months have been a time of year when the NHS could catch its breath and recover performance following high demand over the winter.”

But the figure released today show that this is “no longer the case,” she added.

Deakin said: “Today’s figures reflect the worst performance against the four hour A&E target for the month of June since records began, with major emergency departments reporting 78.8% patients seen within 4 hours, considerably below the target of 95%.”

Patients seen within the target period fell by 4.5% from June 2018 to June 2019, but admissions only increased by 0.7% over the same period – from 2,094,000 to 2,108,000.

Nick Ville, director of membership and policy at the NHS Confederation, said the NHS is “not even out of the foothills” when it comes to performance recovery.

He added: “The strain on front line services is clearly reaching critical proportions and this is being exacerbated by the ongoing pension tax disagreement, as senior clinicians say they cannot afford to work additional shifts.”

Jonathon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the NHS is now in “year round crisis thanks to years of cutbacks and understaffing”.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “Although long waits for planned care saw further improvements this month, hospitals are reporting continuing staffing and bed pressures. 

“Local areas across the NHS are now reviewing the extra staffing and capital investment in facilities and diagnostics they will need for the next five years, ahead of national decisions on these later this year.”

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