Six-month-plus surgery waits triple in four years

The number of patients waiting longer than six months for surgical treatment in England has almost tripled in the past four years, according to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)


The RCS has today released a new analysis of waiting times data showing that, in March 2017, the number of patients waiting more than 26 weeks for treatment was 126,188, while in March 2013 (the year when six-month waiters were at their lowest level), 45,054 patients were waiting more than six months.

The data analysed shows that patients awaiting some types of surgery were experiencing particularly strong rises in waits for six or more months between March 2013 and March 2017. These included:

  • ear, nose and throat – a 256% rise
  • urology – 199% rise
  • general surgery – 146% rise
  • oral surgery – 146% rise
  • brain and spinal surgery – 145% rise

In addition, the analysis showed that the number of patients waiting more than nine months (39 weeks) for treatment rose by 209% during the same period. This was a rise from 6,415 patients in March 2013 to 19,838 patients in March 2017.

More via OnMedica

Full detail: Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times



A guide to managing efficient elective care

Guidance for NHS staff involved the delivery of acute elective care who want to understand how best to manage and deliver referral to treatment (RTT) pathways and standards | NHS Improvement


Image source: NHS Improvement

Our guide covers those areas which support the operational delivery of an effective RTT pathway, including demand and capacity planning, elective access policies, performance management and reporting.

It gives advice on the management of the RTT pathway, derived from what we’ve learned from helping NHS organisations across the country to deliver and sustain short waiting times for treatment

Also included are:

Read the full overview here

The core guidance is available here

A&E under pressure

The number of patients waiting four or more hours at A&E has risen more than 300% at some hospitals |  BBC News


In total, 2.2 million patients were not seen within the target time in 2015-16 – more than double the one million figure in 2013-2014.

The Royal College for Emergency Medicine (RCEM) says there is a “large and systemic problem” caused by a lack of hospital beds.

NHS England said hospitals were under pressure but continuing to cope. Across England in 2015-2016, 85% of patients were seen within four hours.

Full story via BBC News

NHS Indicators: England, January 2017

The House of Commons library has published NHS Indicators: England, January 2017.

The full briefing paper looks at trends in the following areas:

  • Accident & Emergency attendance and performance
  • Ambulance demand and response times
  • Waiting times and waiting lists for routine treatment
  • Waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Cancelled operations
  • Delayed discharges and transfers of care
  • Diagnostic waiting times and activity
  • Waiting times for mental health treatment
  • Workforce numbers for doctors, nurses and other staff
  • Hospital activity, referrals and admissions
  • Bed availability and occupancy

Access the full report here

Care quality measures

The Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust have published Quality at a cost: QualityWatch annual statement 2016.

This report looks at a range of care quality measures across the NHS in England. It highlights several areas of health care where standards have improved, but the authors point to slowing improvement in other areas, growing waiting times and continuing financial pressures.

QualityWatch routinely monitors over 300 indicators spread across all domains of quality. This report considers a selection of areas from within this set, covering different stages of a patient’s experience of the health service, to give a picture of quality in 2016.

It looks across six main areas:

  • Public health
  • Primary care
  • Ambulances
  • Hospital care
  • Mental health
  • Condition-specific care (stroke and hip fracture)

The report observes that the pressure of austerity did not impact on quality measures straight away, but took a few years to be felt. Authors conclude that further ‘delayed decline’ could occur in other aspects of care quality, such as effectiveness of treatment or patient safety, given the extent of the challenges faced and ongoing austerity in health and social care spending.

Half of hospital trusts miss reduced waiting targets

Via Health Service Journal

  • Trusts missing largely lower “reset” targets for elective treatment times
  • Performance means organisations could miss out on sustainability and transformation funding
  • Total waiting list approaches 4 million

More than half of England’s hospital trusts have missed their elective waiting time targets set by NHS Improvement.  HSJ analysis of the 18 week referral to treatment time data for the second quarter of 2016-17 shows 66 trusts missed targets set for them by the regulator.

The national target is for trusts to have no more than 8 per cent of their patients waiting more than 18 weeks for elective treatment – but in July NHS Improvement set different, usually lower, “reset” targetsthat trusts must hit to access sustainability and transformation funding.

Of the 120 trusts that signed up for reset targets from July, 42 missed them in each of the three months of quarter two. Another 24 missed in aggregate over the quarter

Areas of NHS will implode this winter, expert warns

Parts of the NHS “will implode” this winter, an expert has warned, as new figures show falling A&E performance over the past few months. | The Guardian


Dr Mark Holland, the president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the days when summer used to provide a respite for busy emergency departments had gone, and instead the NHS faced an “eternal winter”.

The NHS was “on its knees” and a major increase in hospital admissions due to flu or the sickness bug norovirus could lead to collapse, he added.

Holland spoke out as new figures show that waiting times in A&E units in England this summer have been worse than for most winters stretching back more than a decade.

One in 10 patients waited more than four hours in A&E during June, July and August – worse than any winter in the past 12 years bar one, analysis by the BBC showed. Only last winter marked a worse performance since the target was launched in 2004.

Related: The King’s Fund responds to latest NHS performance statistics