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Accident and Emergency Statistics: Demand, Performance and Pressure

Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016

England's A&E attendances so far in 2016 are 6% higher than in 2015. In the last year, 15% of patients spent over 4 hours in major A&E departments, compared with 5% five years ago. This briefing gives stats on A&E demand, performance and pressure for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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A&E summary EnglandClick the thumbnail to view a full-size map of recent major A&E performance in England. This map is also contained in the PDF report (below).






A summary of data for England follows:

In 2016 so far there have been an average of 2,500 more attendances at major A&Es per day compared with 2015. That is a 6% increase.


In the last year, 15% of people spent more than 4 hours in major A&E departments. This has risen from 5% five years ago.


People aged 80+ have the highest rates of A&E attendance. Year-on-year increases in rates did not vary substantially between age groups.


Monday has the most attendances at A&E. On average is 14% busier than Friday, which has the lowest attendances.


Three-fifths of A&E attendances arrive between 9am and 6pm. 8% are between midnight and 6am. The early hours are busiest on Sundays.


Over the last year, Hillingdon Hospitals had the highest % of patients spending over 4 hours in major A&Es. Luton & Dunstable had the lowest.


74% of A&E patients who are eventually admitted to hospital spend longer than 3 hours in A&E. 22% spend more than  3h 50m but less than 4h 0m


In 2016, an average of 1,372 people each day waited 4+ hours for admission to hospital via A&E. Five years ago the figure was 255 per day.


A&E Demand

In 2015/16 there weere 22.9 million attendances at England's A&E departments, of which 65% were at major departments ('type 1') which operate a constulant-led 24 hour service. In 2016 so far, attendances have been 6% above the same period in 2015.

Relative to population size, Northern Ireland has the highest rate of attendance at major A&E departments of UK countries. Once we include minor A&E departments, England’s total rate of attendance is higher.


Patients spending over 4 hours in A&E

The number and percentage of patients spending over four hours in A&E has risen in recent years. In the quarter to March 2016, over 18% of patients in type 1 departments spent over 4 hours in A&E – the highest for over a decade. The target for 95% of all attendees to be discharged, admitted or transferred within 4 hours has not been met in the monthly data since July 2015.


Emergency Admissions

There were 4.2 million emergency admissions to hospital in 2015/16 - up 4% on the previous year.

Long waits for admission have become more commons, with the numbers waiting over 4 hours for admission after a decision to admit had been made increasing by 26% over the last year and by 130% over the last two years.


Finding out more

Some data for local NHS providers can be downloaded below. Links to source data can be found on the right of this page. MPs and their staff can contact Library staff for more data for their local areas.

Commons Briefing papers SN06964

Author: Carl Baker

Topics: Ambulance services, Emergency services, Health services

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