Our response to NHS performance statistics for May 2019

NHS England has today published new monthly performance statstics. Our Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC responds to the new statistics.
We need to look beyond the numbers and focus on understand what people are saying about their experiences of care.
— Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England

Each month, NHS England releases statistics to provide information about how well the NHS is performing across a number of key areas including:

  • Urgent and emergency care
  • Planned care
  • Cancer
  • Mental Health

Key findings from the statistics released today by NHS England include:

  • Attendances to A&E have increased by 4.6% in the last 12 months, compared to the previous 12 months.
  • There were 535,138 emergency admissions in April this year, 6.3% higher than in April 2018.

Responding to the latest performance statistics, Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:

“It will be of particular concern that nearly 66,0000 people had to be spend more than four hours waiting for treatment in A&E, nearly 49% more than this time last year.

To understand what the latest performance figures really mean for those using the NHS, and why they are so concerning, we need to look beyond the numbers and focus on understand what people are saying about their experiences of care.

“In 2018/19 Healthwatch across the country saw a growing trend around a lack of empathy being offered by services providing care.

In particular, people reported that the pressures on staffing means that hard working doctors, nurses and other professionals are too busy to cater for individual needs and dismiss people’s questions and concerns without explanation.

This is a cause for concern, not least because it doesn’t come through in how the NHS tracks its performance.

“Later this month we expect the NHS to start testing new performance measures for A&E.

Following significant input from Healthwatch, these measures focus on elements of care that people have told us matter most to them. For example, concentrating on the speed of initial assessment and the clear prioritising of the most urgent cases rather than overall waiting times.

This is a positive shift in how the NHS tracks how it is doing, but we need to ensure the new measures and their impact on people’s experiences of care are properly evaluated before being rolled out across the NHS more widely.”  

Find out more

Find out more about the latest statistics from NHS England.

Take a look at the statistics

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