House of Commons Library

NHS Indicators: England, October 2017

Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A summary of performance indicators and demand levels for NHS services in England. Covers areas such as: A&E statistics, waiting lists, ambulance data, delayed charges, and staffing levels including doctors and nurses.

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The NHS in England is experiencing continuing pressure on demand and performance.

  • The waiting list for consultant-led treatment has risen to 3.85 million – 25% higher than it was three years ago.
  • Long waits for emergency admission (‘trolley waits’ of over four hours after a decision to admit was made) have more than doubled over the past three years.
  • Ambulance responses to life-threatening calls have risen by an estimated 22.5% over the past three years, and ambulance waiting time targets have not been met since 2015.


There are signs of improvement and recovery on some measures

  • The percentage of 4-hour waits in A&E stopped rising in early 2017, although waits are still higher than in years prior to 2016.
  • The number of delayed discharges from hospital has fallen slightly in recent months. Delays attributable to the NHS are down on last year.


Staff numbers are up in most categories, but the number of nurses and GPs has fallen slightly

  • The number of hospital doctors rose by 2.6% in the last year. Ambulance staff are up 6.5%, and scientific staff are up 3.1%.
  • There are 1,000 fewer nurses and health visitors than a year ago – a fall of 0.4%.
  • The number of GPs is estimated to have fallen by 3% since September 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.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7281

Author: Carl Baker

Topics: Ambulance services, Health services, Health staff and professions

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