House of Commons Library

NHS Winter Pressures in England, 2017/18

Published Wednesday, April 4, 2018

NHS winter data on demand, pressures and performance in England, including waiting times, ambulance handover delays, bed occupancy, norovirus, NHS 111, and delayed discharges.

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In the winter months, NHS England publishes daily 'situation reports' on pressures facing acute hospital providers and NHS 111 services. 

This briefing summarises data on demand, pressure and performance for the NHS in England this winter. Data tables for individual hospital providers are available to download at the bottom of this page.

 

Emergency Care

Hospital accident & emergency attendances rose by 1.6% compared with last winter. 22.9% of patients spent longer than 4 hours in A&E, compared with 20.7% last winter and 6.2% in 2010/11. The number of A&E diverts for temporary respite was down on last year.

Patients spending longer than 4 hours in hospital A&E in England

 

Beds and Capacity

General & acute bed occupancy was 94.4%, and was over 90% for all but four days this winter. On average, 20 hospital trusts had occupancy over 99% each day.

On average there were 1,100 fewer beds available each day than last winter. But there were also 1,500 fewer beds each day lost to delayed discharges than last winter.

Number of trusts with bed occupancy over 99% each day this winter

Average number of delayed discharges each day

 

Ambulances and NHS 111

13,445 ambulances arrived at England's hospitals each day. One in eight ambulance handovers were delayed by more than 30 minutes over the winter, peaking at one in four on 2nd January. 3% of handovers were delayed by more than an hour over the winter, with a peak of 9% on 2nd January.

NHS 111 received an average of 43,000 calls per day. 27% of calls weren't answered within 60 seconds, peaking at 60% on 24th December.

Percentage of ambulance handovers delayed for 30 minutes each day this winter

Percentage of NHS 111 calls not answered within 60 seconds, each day this winter

Further information

In 2016/17, further information on which NHS trusts have declared OPEL pressure alerts each day has been published. This was billed as a way to streamline reporting and "provide a common language" of pressure. However, this data is not being released to the public in 2017/18.

NHS England has stated in the past that the winter dataset is subject to only minimal validation because it is turned around quickly, but that it is nevertheless "fit for purpose".

Similar winter situation reports are not published in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, although routine performance data can be accessed at the following links:

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8210

Author: Carl Baker

Topics: Ambulance services, Emergency services, Health services

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