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Winter Flow Project

Winter Flow Project

Winter Flow Project 2021/22

Our annual Winter Flow Project looks at a sample of trusts and boards throughout the UK to see how their Emergency Departments are performing and what difficulties they are facing each week across the winter period.

This year’s project is collecting the following data points on a weekly basis from over 35 trusts & boards:

a) The number of acute beds in service
b) The number of patients spending more than 12 hours in an ED from arrival to departure
c) The number of patients occupying beds for seven or more days from admission
d) The number of unplanned attendances at EDs each week
e) Four-hour wait performance
f) The number of cancelled elective procedures

The project began in October 2021 and will run until the end of March 2022. All information submitted is anonymised and aggregated to provide a system wide picture which avoids unhelpful scrutiny of individual sites. Moreover, the data is only discussed in aggregate form.

For queries or further information about the project please contact theo.chiles@rcem.ac.uk

Past projects

In politically challenging times, the project has a vital role to play in informing the wider debate around emergency medicine and focusing attention in the media and in Governments in each of the UK nations on the practical challenges faced by Providers as they make every effort provide excellent care for patients. In our view, the project has also been instrumental in making the case for additional resources for the health sector.

+ 2020/21

Winter Flow Project 2020/21

Our annual Winter Flow Project looks at a sample of trusts and boards throughout the UK to see how their Emergency Departments are performing and what difficulties they are facing each week across the winter period.

This year’s project is collecting the following data points on a weekly basis from over 35 trusts & boards:

a) The number of acute beds in service
b) The number of patients spending more than 12 hours in an ED from arrival to departure
c) The number of patients for whom hospitalisation in an acute trust is no longer medically required
d) The number of unplanned attendances at EDs each week
e) The number of staff shielding or off-sick each week
f) The number of patients requiring isolation at triage at EDs each week

The project began in October 2020 and will run until the end of March 2021. All information submitted is anonymised and aggregated to provide a system wide picture which avoids unhelpful scrutiny of individual sites. Moreover, the data is only discussed in aggregate form.

For queries or further information about the project please contact theo.chiles@rcem.ac.uk

+ 2019/20

The project ran from the beginning of October 2019 until the end of March 2020. All the information submitted was anonymised and aggregated to provide a system wide picture while avoiding unhelpful scrutiny of individual sites. Moreover, the data was only be discussed in aggregate form.

The following data points were collected on a weekly basis from over 50 trusts and boards:

a) Type one four-hour standard performance
b) The number of acute beds in service
c) The number of patients spending more than 12 hours in an Emergency Department from arrival to departure
d) The number of patients for whom hospitalisation in an acute trust is no longer medically required
e) The number of unplanned attendances at Emergency Department(s) each week.

Weekly Reports & Figures

+ 2018/19 + 2017/18

Our third annual winter flow project ran from the beginning of October 2017 to the end of March 2018. Alongside the metrics we have run previously, this year saw the introduction of a fifth measure: the number of locum staff employed within each ED.

Final report

Halfway report

Weekly reports & figures

+ 2016/17

Our second annual winter flow project ran from the beginning of October 2016 to the end of March 2017. Data was collected from 60 trusts/health boards and once again looked at:

  • how many acute beds are available in the hospital
  • how many elective operations had to be cancelled
  • how many patients were subject to delayed transfers of care.

The weekly, interim and final reports can be found below.

Final report

Halfway report

Weekly reports & figures

+ 2015/16

We launched our first Winter Flow Project in October 2015, to look at system-wide pressures impacting on the emergency care system over the winter of 2015/16. The purpose of the work was to suggest that hospitals’ performance against the four hour standard should not be seen in isolation but seen alongside other important metrics such as:

  • how many acute beds are available in the hospital
  • how many elective operations had to be cancelled
  • how many patients were subject to delayed transfers of care.

We collected this data from 50 Trusts/health boards from October 2015 to March 2016, who provided us with figures on the metrics above. The data collected helped to shed light on the pressures our emergency departments over the winter period.

Final Report

Weekly Reports & Figures

Press release launching the project.

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