NHS England » Monthly operational statistics - August 2023 (2023)


  1. Emergency rooms across the country are under pressure with 2.1 million patients and 535,000 emergency room visits in July. The ambulance service also saw its busiest month since May 2022 with 707,000 incidents in July, but efficiency has improved significantly compared to last year.
  2. Ongoing industrial disputes in the NHS have had a major impact on patients, with around 778,000 appointments having to be postponed due to strikes in recent months - and further appointments unable to be arranged due to ongoing disruption.
  3. The latest figures show that NHS staff continue to make progress in reducing the longest waiting times for care. By the end of June, the number of patients waiting more than 78 weeks for treatment fell by more than 90% compared to a peak of 124,911 in September 2021.
  4. Occupancy of emergency beds remains high, as the flow of patients through hospitals is a major challenge and there is continued pressure in social and local care. This month we have republished further information explaining why patients experienced delays in leaving intensive care and community hospitals and where they were discharged.
  5. The NHS continues to increase support for people outside hospital. Community Emergency Response helps prevent hospital admissions by providing emergency assistance to people in their homes. ICBs now have full coverage, with the latest figures showing that nationally 84% of patients were treated within the 2-hour standard, with each region exceeding or meeting the target of 70% of planning guidelines.
  6. In the area of ​​diagnostics, the National Health Fund improved community access and general activity levels. In June, a record number of tests and inspections were carried out (2.24 million), 16 percent more than the previous year. more than in the same month before the pandemic (1.9 million). In the last 12 months (July 2022 - June 2023), more than 25 million checks and X-rays have been carried out.
  7. The NHS continues to experience high demand for cancer services. In June 2023, 261,000 people were referred by their doctor for urgent cancer screening, 22% more than before the pandemic. Treatment is also at a record level, with the result that the 62-day backlog of cancer treatments has fallen and the number of cancer deaths in the UK is around 10% lower than five years ago.
  8. Considerable progress has continued to be made at the level of activity in general practice. In June 2023, there were 29.7 million visits to a general practitioner, of which 289,000 were vaccinations against COVID-19. 43.3% of the June visits were on the same day as booked and 69.0% were in person.

relief and relief

Emergency and Emergency Response (UEC) has made sustained progress towards the ambitions set out in our UEC Recovery Plan [1] in July.

This is despite further protests showing preparations are being made by NHS teams to help patients get the care they need faster.

The efficiency of ambulances is much better compared to the same period last year [2]. In July, the ambulance's average response time to a Category 2 emergency call was 31 minutes and 50 seconds. This is an improvement of almost 5 minutes compared to June [3].

Average response time C2, England

A&E performance has also improved. 74% of emergency patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. Compared to 73.3% last month and 71.1% in July 2022.

Fewer patients waited 12 hours or more in the emergency room. In July, 7.3% of patients spent 12 hours after arrival in the emergency department. This is down from 10.8% in March 2023.

Achieving the goals in the recovery plan requires a focus on the further development of health and community care. By providing better support to people at home, we can help improve the patient experience, avoid unnecessary admissions and speed up discharge.

An example of this is our goal to increase capacity to over 10,000 virtual bed wards by the end of September. This month we published data on virtual stations. Data from July shows that there are currently 9,713 virtual beds available on the ward.

Virtual wards are based on best clinical practice, enabling people to receive hospital care at home, safely and in familiar surroundings, helping to speed up recovery while freeing up hospital beds for patients who need it most.

Elective recovery and cancer

Despite a three-day strike by junior doctors which saw 106,000 appointments postponed, the NHS continued to cut the longest waiting times for scheduled procedures in June.

At the end of June, 7177 patients were waiting for treatment for over 78 weeks. This is down from the September 2021 peak of 124,911, and down more than a third since last month.

Referral for treatment, waiting time 78 weeks

Including estimates for lack of acute trust relationships.

97,275 (1.3%) patients waited for treatment over 65 weeks. This is a decrease of almost a third since the beginning of the year [5].

Approximately 80% of the patients on the waiting list do not require hospitalization for treatment. Instead, diagnostic testing or outpatient treatment is required. In June, 1,217,525 patients started this "unapproved" treatment, up from 1,168,335 in May.

Demand for oncology services remained at record highs in June and the number of acute referrals with suspected cancer was 122% of pre-pandemic levels.

To meet the high demand, treatment is also at record levels, reducing the backlog of 62 days of cancer treatment.

Trend of patients waiting more than 62 days

More than 335,000 people were treated for cancer last year between July 2022 and June 2023 - the highest ever and an increase of more than 22,000 compared to the same period before the pandemic.

Since March 2021, GPs have referred a record number of people for urgent cancer screening. Since then, NHS staff have treated more than 930,000 more people than in the same period before the pandemic.

Urgent referrals with suspected cancer seen for the first time

The increase in referrals has helped the NHS diagnose more cancers at early stages than ever before. We are now diagnosing a higher proportion of early-stage cancers than ever before - about 2% more than before the pandemic.

The survival rate is also at an all-time high. In 2023, the Annals of Oncology published results showing that the number of cancer deaths in the UK is around 10% lower than five years ago.

Cancer screening rate in England

The NHS is working hard to keep up with increasing demand. This accelerated the installation of new diagnostic options, mostly in local diagnostic centers.

The backlog has already fallen by 14,000 people since its peak last summer and, despite a recent seasonal rise, NHS staff remain focused on ensuring those who have waited the longest or need care the most are treated first.


More people than ever are receiving NHS mental health support. Five million patients will have access to healthcare services by 2021/22, an increase of over one million in five years.

In the face of increased demand and complex conditions, services across the country have made every effort to improve access and reduce waiting times. This applies especially to children and young people: every sixth person now suffers from a mental illness, up from every nine in 2017.

The pandemic and its aftermath have exacerbated the factors contributing to mental ill health, with demand for psychiatric care at a record high and bed occupancy still above 95% in all NHS psychiatric hospitals.

The NHS is working hard to close this treatment gap and expand its mental health provision, supported by a further £2.3bn. per year until April 2024.

This includes improving social services and launching new initiatives such as mental health support teams in schools and colleges, which now cover 3.4 million students (35%). These teams provide support for mild to moderate conditions such as anxiety and depression and can refer those who need more specialist care to local mental health centres.

In May 2023, 697,305 children and young people (CYPs) received NHS psychiatric care.

Adults and older people with common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks or phobias can access our world-leading talk therapy program through their GP or by completing an online self-referral.

In May 2023, 146,659 people were referred to NHS Talking Therapy services and 320,505 started treatment in the last quarter.

The services have a proven track record of helping people better manage their mental health problems. Recent data shows that more than two-thirds of people experience reliable improvement after stopping talk therapy.

[1]NHS England » Implementation plan to restore emergency and rescue services

[2] Average C2 response time in July 2022 was 59:07.

[3] Average C2 in June 2023 was 36:49.

[4] In May 2023, 11,446 patients were waiting for treatment for over 78 weeks.

[5] 144,969 patients waited more than 65 weeks in January 2023.

publication date: 10. august 2023

Date of last update: 14. august 2023


What is the average wait time for A&E in the UK 2023? ›

74% of patients attending A&E were admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours[3] in May 2023. This was for 2,240,070 attendances in A&Es across England – an average of 72,260 a day, 10% more than last month.

What is the 4 hour standard for NHS? ›

It states 95% of emergency patients should be seen, treated if necessary, and either discharged or admitted, within four hours of arrival in an Emergency Department (ED) – unless there are medical reasons for keeping you there (e.g. you are too unwell to move). It is your right in the NHS Constitution (for England).

What is the NHS 4 hour wait target? ›

Since 2004, the 4-hour standard has been a cornerstone of measuring A&E performance across NHS England trusts - the target meaning that the time a patient waits between attending A&E and a decision being made about their onwards care or discharge is no more than four hours.

What is the busiest hospital in the UK? ›

Leading busiest hospitals in England 2020/21, by number of admissions. During the financial year 2020/2021, the busiest hospital provider in England was the University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust with over 256 thousand admissions.

How long is the NHS wait time compared to the US? ›

In the UK, 93.4% within four hours is regarded as a huge failure — the standard the NHS is supposed to meet is 95% of patients in four hours. Americans might feel comforted by this. In the US, an average of 95% of patients are seen within three hours, according to the CDC.

What is the average wait time to see a doctor in the UK? ›

The average waiting time for a routine GP appointment has reduced from 19 days to 10 days, an improvement of 47% which has surpassed the team's aim set at the start of the project. The practice is continuing to make improvements so hoping this waiting time will reduce further.


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