• Trusts hit record 1,043 12 hour waits in January, more than double previous month
  • Type one A&Es see worst ever four hour performance
  • January data is first published since UK Statistics Authority raised accuracy concerns

Hospitals saw a record spike in trolley waits last month as major emergency departments recorded their worst performance since records began, according to NHS England data published today.

NHS trusts recorded 1,043 patients waiting over 12 hours for a bed after a decision has been made to admit them. The number is more than double the 500 recorded in December, and exceeds the previous record of 989 in January 2017.

Figures published this morning showed University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust accounted for over a quarter of the national total (see table). Six other trusts each recorded more than 50 12 hour trolley waits in the month. These were: North Bristol, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Portsmouth Hospitals, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals, and Stockport.

The 1,043 12 hour waits in the single month of January is nearly as many as the total recorded for the entire first three quarters of 2017-18 – 1,181. It represents a major blow to system leaders who made reducing trolley waits a major priority of their winter plan. The Nuffield Trust said the deterioration was “deeply concerning”.

Meanwhile, major emergency departments (type one) reported that 77.1 per cent of patients were admitted or discharged within four hours compared to 77.3 per cent in December, and 77.6 per cent in January last year.

It is the worst ever performance for type one A&E departments.

The overall performance data, which includes a range of non-emergency and urgent care activity, improved marginally on last month, up from 85.1 per cent in December to 85.3 per cent last month.

The January data publication is the first monthly NHS England performance check since the UK Statistics Authority began a probe into the quality of A&E data last month.

Nuffield Trust chief economist John Appleby said: “Today’s figures provide hard evidence on just how bad a winter the NHS is having… these are the highest numbers since records began.

“A year ago we warned that corridors had become the new emergency wards. It is deeply concerning that 12 months on, the position has worsened with many harrowing reports of patients being treated in busy corridors by stressed and overworked staff.

“Every part of the NHS is creaking at the seams. It is time to face facts and offer sustainable funding increases to the health service.”

The news comes after NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton wrote to trust chiefs last month to announce a “formal exercise” to review reporting, and to outline interim arrangements.

This followed the UK Statistics Authority raising concerns with NHS England about accuracy and changes in reporting practice – prompting questions over whether the data was reliably measuring pressure and performance over winter.

Table: 49 trusts reported 12 hour waits in record month

Trust12 hour waits reported in January
England 1,043
University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust 272
North Bristol Trust 107
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT 77
Portsmouth Hospitals Trust 73
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust 63
Oxford University Hospitals FT 55
Stockport Foundation Trust 52
East Cheshire Trust 39
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay FT 37
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust 30
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust 27
Lewisham and Greenwich Trust 19
Great Western Hospitals FT 15
Medway FT 15
Weston Area Health Trust 15
York Teaching Hospital FT 14
Northern Devon Healthcare Trust 12
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT 10
King’s College Hospital FT 9
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust 8
South Tees Hospitals FT 8
Isle of Wight Trust 8
Royal Devon and Exeter FT 8
Torbay and South Devon FT 8
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust 6
Imperial College Healthcare Trust 5
Bolton FT 5
Plymouth Hospitals Trust 5
London North West Healthcare Trust 4
Cambridge University Hospitals FT 4
The Dudley Group FT 4
Aintree University Hospital FT 3
East Lancashire Hospitals Trust 3
University Hospitals Bristol FT 3
George Eliot Hospital Trust 2
Wye Valley Trust 2
North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust 2
Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust 2
East Kent Hospitals University FT 2
Sussex Community FT 2
University College London Hospitals FT 1
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals FT 1
Southend University Hospital FT 1
The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust 1
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust 1
North Tees and Hartlepool FT 1
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals FT 1
University Hospital Southampton FT 1


Trolley waits soar to record high