House of Commons Library

NHS Indicators: England, February 2017

Published Thursday, February 16, 2017

A briefing on demand and performance for NHS services in England. Covers areas such as: A&E, waiting lists, delayed transfers of care, staffing levels, and demand for hospital services.

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Key trends from the most recent NHS data in England:

A&E attendances in 2016 have been 5% higher than in 2015.  The number of emergency admissions rose by 4.5%.	21% of patients spent more than 4 hours in major A&E departments in Dec 2016, compared with 13% in Dec 2015 and 6% in Dec 2011	Long waits for emergency admission were 58% higher in 2016 than in 2015, and five times higher than 2011. There were 23% more delayed transfers of care in 2016 than in 2015. Social care delays rose by 37%. Delays due to waits for homecare rose by 45%.	The waiting list for routine treatment grew 11% to 3.66 million between Dec 2015 and Dec 2016. 	92% of those waiting for treatment had been waiting for 20 weeks or less - above the target of 18 weeks.

Most cancer waiting times targets continue to be met. The 62-day treatment target (85%) has not been met since Dec 2015.	Urgent ambulance calls rose 16% in 2016. The 8-minute ambulance response target (75%) has not been met since May 2015.	Waiting times targets for mental health talking therapy treatments continue to be met, with performance improving in October. The number of GPs is estimated to have fallen by 3% between 2014 and 2015.	The number of hospital doctors rose 1.7% in the year to Oct 2016.	The number of hospital nurses rose by 0.8% in the year to Oct 2016.

NHS Demand and Performance: Comparing 2016 and 2015 (click to view full-size)

Comparing 2016 and 2015





The full PDF briefing paper looks at trends in the following areas:

  • Accident & Emergency attendance and performance
  • Ambulance demand and response times
  • Waiting times and waiting lists for routine treatment
  • Waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Cancelled operations
  • Delayed discharges and transfers of care
  • Diagnostic waiting times and activity
  • Waiting times for mental health treatment
  • Workforce numbers for doctors, nurses and other staff
  • Hospital activity, referrals and admissions
  • Bed availability and occupancy

Health is a devolved area. These statistics relate to the NHS in England only.


Spotlight: delayed transfers of care

The ‘delayed transfers of care’ dataset identifies the number of patients who are in the wrong care setting for their current level of need. A delayed transfer occurs when a patient is ready to depart from their current care setting but is still occupying a bed. Delayed transfers have increased substantially over the past three years.

In 2016 there were 2.16 million ‘delayed days’ due to delayed transfers of care – an average of just under 6,000 each day. This was 23% higher than in 2015 and 56% higher than in 2011. Compared with 2015, delays where the NHS was at least partially responsible rose by 17%, while those at least partly due to social care organisations rose by 37%. Compared with 2011, delays with NHS responsibility rose by 52% and those due to social care rose by 65%.

The chart below illustrates the monthly trend since 2010, showing the average number of delays per day. Delays attributable to the NHS have been on an upward trend since 2010. Delays attributable to social care declined slightly between 2010 and 2014, but have since more than doubled.

Delayed transfers by responsible organisation

The table below shows a breakdown of delayed transfers in 2016 by the reason for their delay. This data shows that most of the increase over the past year is because of people awaiting a care package in their own home, or awaiting nursing home placements. Delays in both of these categories have risen by over 40% in the last year alone, and have more than doubled over the last four years.

Delayed transfers by reason

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7281

Author: Carl Baker

Topics: Health services, Health staff and professions, Mental health

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