How is the NHS performing? Latest data – May 2024

By Blackwater Law

people in a hospital waiting room

The NHS publishes a wide array of its performance data on a regular basis. This data tracks the performance of the NHS and each trust within it on a variety of different data points.

Last Updated: 10/05/2024

The data reveals how each trust performs when it comes to things like A&E waiting times, the number of beds that are occupied overnight, the number of cancelled operations and how long waiting lists are to begin cancer treatment or receive diagnostic testing like MRIs.

You can find all of the latest data published on our NHS Performance Tracker.

How many NHS operations are cancelled?

Currently, the NHS is only publishing data for cancelled elective operations. Elective operations are those that are planned in advance, as opposed to critical or emergency operations.

The latest data published by the NHS reveals that between January and March 2024, there were 21,053 cancelled elective operations across the NHS. For comparison, between October and December 2023, there were 20,372 cancelled elective operations. Between July and September, there were 18,749.

The trust with the highest number of cancelled elective operations between January and March 2024 was University Hospitals Birmingham with 1,185. The next highest was Manchester University Hospital Trust with 674, followed by University Hospitals of Leicester with 549.

What is the waiting time for an NHS diagnostic test?

Examples of diagnostic tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, non-obstetric ultrasounds, heart procedures and lung function tests. The NHS currently sets a 6-week target for patients to receive the diagnostic test they need.

The data published by the NHS records the proportion of patients that received their diagnostic test within this 6-week timeframe. According to the latest figures, in March 2024 21.8% of patients were waiting longer than 6 weeks to receive a diagnostic test. For comparison, in February 2024 the proportion was 20.8%, and 26.2% in January.

The current NHS target is that 95% of patients should be receiving diagnostics tests within 6 weeks.

A&E waiting times in the NHS

A&E is often the busiest department of a hospital. In 2022-23, 25.3 million people attended A&E. This has increased in 2021-22 when 24.4 million people attended A&E. In 2020-21, it was 17.4 million.

In 2010 the NHS set a target for 95% of patients attending A&E to either be admitted, transferred, or discharged within 4 hours. This target has not been achieved since the end of 2012. In December of 2022, this figure was revised to 76% by March 2024.

The latest figures released for April 2024 reveal that on average 74.4% of patients were either admitted, transferred, or discharged within 4 hours. For March 2024, this figure was 74.2% and 70.9% in February.

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What percentage of NHS beds are occupied?

The NHS records the average daily number of available and occupied beds open overnight. According to the latest published date, between October and December 2023 on average 116,832 of the 130,528 available beds across the NHS were occupied overnight. This gives us an occupancy rate of 89.5%.

For comparison, between July and September 2023, there were 113,498 occupied beds of the 129,023 available. This is an occupancy rate of 88%

How many mixed-sex accommodation breaches were there?

The NHS Operating Framework for 2012-2013 states “that all providers of NHS-funded care are expected to eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, except where it is in the overall best interest of the patient.” As a result, the NHS records the number of instances of mixed-sex accommodation at each of its trusts on a monthly basis.

For the month of March 2024, the number of mixed-sex accommodation breaches across the NHS was 4,257, with the highest number occurring at Royal Berkshire Hospital with 387. For comparison, the number of mixed-sex accommodation breaches in February 2024 stood at 4,811 and 4,391 in January.

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