Steep rise in summer A&E admissions amongst peak in attendances

NHS emergency departments saw a total of 554,069 emergency admissions in July 2019, which was 4.6% higher than figures in July 2018. Overall, emergency admissions have risen 3.4% in the last 3 months and 5.3% in the past year. Despite the NHS target to treat 95% of patients within four hours, only 86.5% of patients were seen within this time in A&E departments last month, a drop from 89.4% in July 2018.

Nuffield Trust claims the hot weather has contributed towards the steep rise in A&E admissions and expressed concerns over the record number of trolley waits for a summer month. Nigel Edwards, chief executive of Nuffield trust said:“The soaring temperatures in July have taken their toll on patients and staff, with a record number of people turning up to A&E last month.

“The number of people waiting over four hours on trolleys to be admitted was also unusually high for summer at over 57,000 – a figure that would have once been unthinkable, even in the depths of winter.

“And it’s not just about A&E – sadly these figures show relentless pressure throughout the whole system. More than 1 in 10 people on the list for planned treatment are now waiting over 18 weeks, the worst level since January 2009, and the key two-month cancer treatment target now hasn’t been met in three and a half years.”

Senior policy fellow of the Health Foundation, Tim Gardner, added: ““The new prime minister has identified reducing NHS waiting times as one of his key priorities, but today’s statistics show there is a mountain to climb. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the demand of emergency admissions which have continued to grow year on year, while people are waiting longer for planned surgery.”

Full story in HSJ, 8 August 2019