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England's Best Hospitals 'Struggle To See Patients'

Pressures On NHS Mean Even Best-Performing Hospitals Are Struggling With Demand


Pressures on the NHS have become so great that even the best-performing hospitals in England are struggling to meet demand, resulting in patients waiting longer for key services.

Analysis by the Nuffield Trust looked at performance over the course of the current Parliament, measured against six targets that covered A&E, operations, cancer and diagnostic tests.

Although most patients were being seen within target times, performance across the country was declining. While the poorest-performing hospitals had already been getting worse on most measures, the top 10% of hospitals were also beginning to decline for the first time.

The trust said that this suggested problems were systemic within the NHS, rather than caused by local, regional or managerial failings. Although the report acknowledged a growth in demand for services, it also found that this did not necessarily mean a similar drop in performance.

Report co-author Holly Dorning said: "We've known that hospitals have been struggling to meet the four-hour A&E target for a while. But the fact that we are starting to see problems in other areas, like access to planned treatment, is a real concern.

"As this study makes clear, warning lights are now starting to flash across the wider hospital system."

Expert Opinion
For some time the NHS has been under significant pressure due to the high demand from patients for treatment and care and it is extremely concerning to see these latest figures, which indicates that even the best hospitals in the country are beginning to suffer and care standards are dropping below expected levels.

“It is absolutely crucial that hospitals are provided with the resources they need to ensure the best possible standards across the board, which means increasing funding and staff numbers.

“A failure to address the concerns identified in this latest report will inevitably lead to a further drop in standards and the health and safety of patients being put at serious risk.”
Tom Mather, Partner

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