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A&E delays persist ahead of planned industrial action

13 July 2023

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has responded to the latest Emergency Department performance statistics for June 2023.

Published today (13 July 2023) by NHS England, the June data show two in five patients waited four-hours or more in A&Es and more than 108,000 patients (8%) waited 12-hours or more from their time of arrival at A&E.

Commenting on these figures, Dr Ian Higginson, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“The data show some small improvements, but these are tiny positives when you consider that more than 100,000 patients still had to wait longer than 12-hours in English Emergency Departments alone. We cannot accept this as normal; these long delays are dangerous and appalling and have a major impact on our patients and staff.

“Summer is generally thought of as being a time of reduced pressure on the NHS. Yet we are seeing little evidence that the Urgent and Emergency Care delivery plan is having a significant effect, or that it will yet prove to be little more than words on paper.

“With the unprecedented industrial action underway and consultants set to strike next week, the NHS remains in a precarious position.”

The A&E performance figures come on the day that the longest period of industrial action by junior doctors (post-graduate doctors in training) begins.

Dr Higginson continued: “We support our members’ and colleagues’ right to take industrial action. We urge the BMA and the government to move past this current impasse and find a resolution quickly, for the sake of patients and staff.

“Many healthcare workers and patients will be worried about the industrial action taking place this weekend, Trusts must ensure they have the appropriate plans in place as patient safety is paramount.

“If our members and colleagues are concerned their service is becoming unsafe, they should escalate their concerns via their Clinical Lead, Medical Director and the Chief Operating Officer.

“While industrial action may be disruptive, patients who need Emergency Care should seek it in the normal way by attending A&E or calling 999.”


Notes to editor

Head to our data & statistics page to see graphs and visualizations of the latest figures:

The latest Emergency Department performance figures published by NHS England for June 2023 for show:

  • There were 1,389,009 attendances at major (Type 1) Emergency Departments
    • This represents a 0.1% increase compared with June 2022
    • Type 1 Emergency Departments saw 46,300 attendances per day during June.
  • 26,531 patients were delayed for 12-hours or more from decision to admit to admission
    • This represents a decrease of 15.8% compared with May, and an increase of 20.4% compared with June 2022.
  • Four-hour performance at major Emergency Departments was 60.2%
    • This represents a 0.2 percentage point decrease from the previous month and 1.4 percentage point increase from June 2022.
  • Type 1 admissions stood at 381,815
    • This is a daily average of 12,727 which is a 4.7 percentage increase since June 2022
    • 5% of Type 1 attendances were admitted, this is a 0.2 percentage point decrease from the previous month.
  • 113, 834 patients spent more than four hours in an Emergency Department from decision to admit to admission (also referred to as ‘trolley waits’) this 7% decrease when compared to May, and a 12.5% decrease compared with June 2022.

Beds data for June 2023 show:

  • Last month, there were 98,205 general and acute beds available, a 0.2% decrease from May, but an increase of 2% from June 2022.
  • The occupancy rate was 93%, 0.2 percentage points lower than May.
  • Since October 2022, 918 G&A beds have been added
    • However, since it was announced in January this year that 5,000 new beds will be made available by next winter, the number of general and acute beds available at Type 1 acute trusts has fallen by 1,841 between January and June 2023.

NHS England: Supplementary ECDS Analysis June 2023 final (12-hour length of stay data measured from the time of arrival) data show:

  • In June 2023, 108,225 patients waited 12-hours or more from their time of arrival
    • This accounts for 8% of Type 1 Emergency Department attendances.
    • This is more than four times larger than the number of 12-hour waits measured from decision to admit (26,531).
    • This figure is 4.3% lower than the previous month. May 2023 saw 113,100 TOA attendances.
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