Quarterly performance of the NHS provider sector: quarter 2 2018/19

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Between July and September 2018, hospitals admitted more emergency patients and discharged more patients from their services sooner. However, largely due to the increase in demand, waiting times for planned treatment increased and the sector was £1.23 billion in deficit at the end of the quarter.

Key findings

Between July and September 2018:

  • There were 940 more emergency admissions per day compared to the same quarter last year. A total of 6.18 million people visited A&E during the quarter — 252,360 (4.3%) more than the same period last year. NHS staff treated more emergency patients within the four-hour A&E standard — 5.52 million patients, compared with 5.34 million for the previous quarter. 
  • Largely due to the increase in demand, the sector was £1.23 billion in deficit at the end of September. Trusts have identified further savings they can make throughout the year and are therefore planning to end the year £80 million better than they were at the start of the financial year. At the of the year the sector forecasts a deficit of £558 million. 
  • As reported last quarter, the sector’s ‘underlying deficit’ has been reported by trusts as £4.3 billion. This is the financial position of the sector without one-off savings such as selling off land or non-recurrent funding such as the Provider Sustainability Fund (PSF). The Provider Sustainability Fund (PSF) has been primarily allocated to trusts to support the delivery of emergency care for the last two years. If this funding is treated as recurrent, the underlying deficit reduces to £1.85 billion.
  • Hospitals freed up the equivalent of 682 beds by improving discharge arrangements for patients whose discharge was delayed. So far this year, hospitals freed up the equivalent of 2,470 beds that were occupied by patients that had been in a hospital bed for more than three weeks.
  • High A&E demand meant that people had to wait longer for planned treatment. The number of people waiting more than a year for treatment at the end of September was 3,156, compared to 1,778 for the same period last year. 
  • The number of vacancies across NHS trusts fell to 102,821 at the end of September, from 107,463 at the end of June. 
  • NHS trusts have saved £1.2 billion from their budgets by becoming more efficient, such as by moving from using agency staff to NHS bank staff, and through better procurement for everyday items like syringes and disposable gloves. 

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