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Royal College of Emergency Medicine responds to May’s A&E performance data

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has responded to May 2023’s Emergency Department performance statistics for England

Commenting on the data, RCEM President, Dr Adrian Boyle said: “It is clear that May was a hugely challenging month for EDs in England. The number of patients attending rose significantly with the knock-on effect of April’s industrial action across the NHS still been being felt.

“Despite this backdrop there are still some improvements which are testament to the hard work of our members and their colleagues who are committed to providing patients with the best emergency care possible.

“Traditionally warmer months are a chance for EDs to take stock following the excessive pressures experienced during winter, but they are still running flat out. And there are some concerning red flags in the data which indicate the wider health service not functioning as it should.

“Our members, and their patients, deserve an NHS which is adequately resourced. We again urge the Government to publish its long-awaited workforce plan which must include details of staffing and funding – especially for the vitally important area of Emergency Care – so these pressures are eased in the future.”

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

  • There were 1,400,815 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • Type 1 Emergency Departments saw 45,188 attendances per day during May.
  • This means attendances increased between April and May by 10.2% per this measure.
  • This is a 0.1% decrease compared with May 2022
  • Four-hour performance at major Emergency Departments was 60.4%
  • This represents a 0.2 percentage point increase from May 2022 and a 0.5 percentage point decrease from the previous month.
  • Type 1 admissions stood at 388,202
  • This is a daily average of 12,940 which is an 8.7 percentage increase since May 2022
  • 27.7% of Type 1 attendances were admitted, this is a 0.9 percentage point decrease from the previous month.
  • 122,423 patients spent more than four hours in an Emergency Department from decision to admit to admission (also referred to as ‘trolley waits’) this is a 7.9% increase compared with April, and a 0.3% decrease compared with May 2022.
  • 31,494 patients were delayed for 12-hours or more from decision to admit to admission
  • This represents an increase of 17.1% compared with April, and an increase of 65.3% compared with May 2022

Beds data for May 2023 show:

  • Last month, there were 98,404 general and acute beds available, a decrease of 0.03% from April, but an increase of 1.8% from May 2022.
  • The occupancy rate was 93.2%, 0.6 percentage points higher than April.
  • Since September 2022, 1,736 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 2,002 beds (-1.6%) between January and May 2023.


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About the Royal College of Emergency Medicine

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is the single authoritative body for Emergency Medicine in the UK.

The Royal College has more than 10,500 members who span all clinical roles in Emergency Medicine including doctors, consultants, advanced care practitioners, physicians associates and other roles in Emergency Departments working in the health services in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and across the world.

Emergency Medicine is the medical specialty which provides expert patient care in the NHS Emergency Departments in the UK and other healthcare systems across the world.

The Royal College works to ensure high quality care by setting and monitoring standards of care and providing expert guidance and advice on policy to relevant bodies on matters relating to Emergency Medicine.

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