According to official data released by NHS England the pressure on the NHS is increasing – with demand for hospital services soaring.
Increased demand can be seen for emergency ambulance call outs, A&E admissions, and diagnostic tests. NHS England has responded to the increases with the following quote:
“The long-term trend is one of greater volumes of both urgent and emergency care and elective activity”
The results were published on what is now known as ‘super-Thursday’ and is the first time NHS England have posted data from such a wide range of data on one day.
The data provided indicates that in the year leading up to June 2015:
- A&E attendances were up by 1.1%
- Ambulance call-outs were up 7% on the previous 12 months
- Emergency admissions were up 2.7%
- Consultant-led treatments were up 5.1%
- Diagnostic tests were up 5.8%
As well as this data, NHS England has also reported that two of the eight cancer targets have not been achieved. The two missed targets include only 81% of patients starting treatments within the 62 day GP referral period where the target is 85%. This is the worst result NHS England has seen since the records began in 2009, and the targets have not been achieved since the last three months of 2013.
It has recently been widely reported that the UK lags behind comparable countries when it comes to cancer survival rates and the latest failure to meet targets suggests there is still a long way to go.
When it comes to A&E admissions and emergency care there has been a slight improvement, despite admissions increasing. A&E departments are dealing better with the demand as 94.8% of patients are now being dealt with within the four hour time slot, just below the 95% target.
Concerns have also been raised after it emerged that one in five GP training places are currently unfilled, suggesting that we may face a severe shortage of GP’s in the near future. Speaking on behalf of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpul said “With medical graduates turning their backs on general practice, there is no sign that the government will be able to fulfil its pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs and open all surgeries seven days a week.”
With the Government pledging to invest an extra £8bn per year in the NHS over the next five years it would seem that there are many areas in which extra funding is required, however where exactly the investment will be utilised remains to be seen.