NHS England in crisis as A&E waiting times hit a record high

NHS logo. The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high. A total of 5.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August 2021, according to figures from NHS England.
NHS logo. The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high. A total of 5.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August 2021, according to figures from NHS England.

A record 5,025 people had to wait more than 12 hours at A&Es in England last month

Published

A record 5,025 people had to wait more than 12 hours at A&Es in England last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, NHS England said.

The figure is up from 2,794 in August, and is the highest for any calendar month since records began in August 2010.

Some 104,875 people waited at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission – again, the highest monthly total on record.

Emergency admissions to A&E departments at hospitals in England stood at 506,916 in September 2021, up from 479,855 in September 2020.

The equivalent figure for September 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 529,903.

A&E attendances at hospitals in England last month were 26% higher than a year ago, NHS England said – although again this is a reflection of lower-than-usual numbers for September 2020, which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • NHS England figures show 210,931 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in August, up 24% from the 170,036 reported in August last year.
  • The equivalent figure for August 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 200,317.
  • Urgent referrals where breast cancer symptoms were present – though not initially suspected – were up from 9,486 in August last year to 11,179 in August 2021.
  • A total of 9,754 people in England were waiting more than two years to start routine hospital treatment at the end of August 2021, NHS England figures show.
  • This is up from 7,980 at the end of July, and is more than three times the 2,722 people who were waiting longer than two years in April.

NHS England has told hospitals to eliminate all waits of more than two years by March 2022.