Grim warnings as NHS plunged into another under-funded winter

All last year ministers promised to ensure the NHS was better able to cope this winter than it was last time: but by mid December it was already clear that A&E waiting times were just as bad, if not worse, with an increased number of A&E patients waiting more than 4 hours in September October and November (up 14% on the 2022 equivalent).

Numbers of emergency admissions over the same 3-month period increased by 7% in 2023 compared with 2022, and while there was a 2% reduction in 4 hour-plus trolley waits, the numbers stranded on trolleys for 12 hours or more rose by over 5 percent.

The new figures published as this article is completed show slight increases in emergency admissions, and in 4 hour and 12 hour waits in December, while 2023 as a whole saw an 11% fall in numbers of emergency admissions (to 6.3m) compared with 2022, and a 16% reduction in 4-hour trolley waits (to 1.6m) – but a hefty 13% jump in numbers of 12-hour trolley waits – to almost 420,000.

Full story in The Lowdown, 12 January 2024