RCN response to NHS England Combined Performance Summary for September 2018

Press Response 08/11/2018

More than 3,000 people have waited more than a year for hospital treatment, too often in pain and discomfort

Responding to today's NHS combined performance summary, Tom Sandford, Director of RCN England, said: 

“Today’s figures show that more than 3,000 people have waited more than a year for hospital treatment, too often in pain and discomfort. No one should be waiting this long, yet the number of patients on the waiting list has grown 78 per cent in a year – everywhere you look you see our healthcare system buckling under the strain.

“Just last week, a leading cancer centre in Essex announced it may have to close as it cannot recruit enough specialist nurses. More patients are waiting over two months to start urgent cancer treatment than any time in the last three years - this is a further blow to patients and families enduring one of the most stressful times imaginable.

“Staff shortages are at the heart of these missed targets and miserable trolley waits, and without urgent action we could see more vital services forced to close. These are the consequences of 42,000 nurse vacancies in England alone, projected by the RCN to rise as high as 48,000 in the next five years. As the ten year plan for the NHS is drawn up, we are calling for £1 billion to fund nursing education to attract and support the nurses we need to keep patients safe.”


The NHS Combined Performance Summary Statistics can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/combined-performance-summary/

In September 2018, 3,156 patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for hospital treatment. This compares to 1,778 in September 2017. This in an increase of 77.5%.

Total A&E attendances increased from 2,005,501 in September 2018 to 2,062,334 in October 2018. This is an increase of 2.8%.

The target for the percentage of A&E attendances seen within 4 hours is 95%. The last time this target was met was July 2015. In October 2018 the percentage of A&E attendances seen within the 4 hour target was 89.1%

78.2% of patients received a first definitive treatment for cancer following an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer within 62 days in September 2018. In August 2018 the figure was 79.4%. The operational standard specifies that 85% of patients should be treated within this time. 

Press Office Contacts

Katherine Jarman, Head of Media:
020 7647 3484

Gareth Arnold, Senior Media Officer:
020 7647 3770

Hannah Law, Media Officer:
020 7647 3696 

Daniel Sutherland, Senior Media Officer:

020 7647 3695