What the latest NHS performance figures show

A&E waits and ambulance response times are the worst on record.

12 January 2023

Here are all the key figures from the latest data on the performance of the NHS in England:

– Overall waiting list

The number of people waiting to start routine hospital treatment has fallen slightly from a record high.

An estimated 7.19 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of November, according to NHS England figures.

(PA Graphics)

This is down from 7.21 million in October, which was the highest number since records began in August 2007.

– Waits of more than a year

The number of people having to wait longer than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment was 406,575 in November, down from 410,983 the previous month.

It is the equivalent of around one in 18 people on the entire waiting list.

The Government and NHS England have set the ambition of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025.

(PA Graphics)

– Waits of more than two years

There were 1,423 people waiting more than two years to start routine hospital treatment at the end of November.

This is down slightly from 1,907 at the end of October.

The number peaked at 23,778 in January 2022.

The Government and NHS England set the ambition to eliminate all waits of more than two years by July 2022, except when it is the patient’s choice or for complex cases requiring specialist treatment.

– A&E waits

A record 54,532 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in December from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.

The figure is up 44% from 37,837 in November and is the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010.

A total of 170,283 people waited at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission in December, up from 143,949 the previous month – again, a new record.

Some 65.0% of patients in England were seen within four hours of arrival at A&Es last month, down from 68.9% in November and the lowest figure on record.

The operational standard is that at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, but this has not been met nationally since 2015.

– Hospital admissions

The number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England in November was 309,976 – up 12% from a year earlier (276,535).

The equivalent figure for November 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 311,662.

– Ambulance response times

The average response time in December for ambulances in England dealing with the most urgent incidents, defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, was 10 minutes and 57 seconds.

This is the longest on record.

The target standard response time for urgent incidents is seven minutes.

Ambulances took an average of one hour, 32 minutes and 54 seconds in December to respond to emergency calls such as heart attacks, strokes or sepsis.

This is the longest on record and well above the target of 18 minutes.

Response times for urgent calls, such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes, averaged four hours, 19 minutes and 10 seconds – again, the longest on record.

– Ambulance handover delays

Nearly one in five (19%) ambulance patients in England waited more than an hour to be handed to A&E teams last week.

This is down from a record 26% the previous week.

(PA Graphics)

Some 36% of ambulance patients waited at least 30 minutes to be transferred to A&E, down week-on-week from a record 44%.

The equivalent figures at this point last year were 10% waiting over an hour and 23% waiting at least half an hour.

– Delayed discharges

A record average of 14,069 hospital beds per day last week in England were occupied by people ready to be discharged.

This is up from 12,809 the previous week and compares with 11,795 at this point last year.

Just 38% of patients ready to leave hospital last week were actually discharged, up slightly from 37% the previous week.

North-west England had the lowest rate of discharges (28%) while eastern England had the highest (47%).

– Cancer referrals

The proportion of patients seeing a cancer specialist within two weeks of being referred urgently by a GP in November was 78.8%, up from 77.8% in October but still well below the 93% target.

Some 69.7% of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer were diagnosed or had cancer ruled out within 28 days, up from 68.5% the previous month.

The elective recovery plan sets a goal of March 2024 for 75% of patients who have been urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer to be diagnosed or have cancer ruled out within 28 days.

Meanwhile 264,391 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in November, the highest number in records going back to 2009.

– Diagnostic tests

More than 425,000 people in England had been waiting longer than six weeks for a key diagnostic test in November.

Some 427,968 patients, 26.9% of the total, were waiting longer than six weeks for one of 15 standard tests, including an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy.

This is up from 426,003 the previous month – 27.5% of the total – but down from 463,930 in September, which was the highest number since August 2020.

The NHS elective recovery plan sets the ambition that 95% of patients needing a diagnostic test receive it within six weeks by March 2025.

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