January saw the worst A&E performance in NHS history

Emergency Departments only managed to treat 77% of patients within four hours, significantly short of the 95% target.

Offical figures from NHS England have revealed that Hospitals in England recorded the worst-ever performance against the national four-hour targets in January 2018. 'The worst outbreak of the flu ever' is being blamed for the unprecedented increase in demand for services.

Governmental targets stipulate that 95% of patients should be seen and treated or discharged within four-hours, however, accident and emergency departments in England only managed an average of 77.1%.


Due to ongoing failings, the government announced last week that it has suspended the financial penalties associated with the four-hour target until April 2019 and in January ordered NHS trusts to suspend all non-urgent care.

The figures from NHS England also revealed;

  • 31,306 patients waited at least an hour in the back of an ambulance or a hospital corridor before being handed over to A&E staff.
  • 81,003 patients waited for more than four hours to be seen, treated or discharged.
  • 1,043 patients waited more than 12 hours to be seen, treated or discharged.
  • Hospital occupancy levels are running at 95% - well above the 85% limit.

The Royal College of Nursing has called for proper investment in health and social care services to prevent this from happening again next winter.

Janet Davies, Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

"There’s no more graphic illustration of how tough this winter has been for NHS patients and staff than the fact that last month, over 81,000 people going to A&E had to wait more than four hours for a bed in the hospital – the worst figure on record.   Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more.  Distressing scenes of frail elderly people in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter - nursing staff do not want to provide this kind of undignified care, and it is pushing people to quit the NHS.

“These pressures are a symptom of a far more long-term problem – we need proper investment in both the NHS and social care in order to treat patients quickly and safely all year round”.

Finally, the data from NHS England show that more than two million patients came to A&E during the month, a rise of more than 5% on last years figures.