Figures show amazing effort of NHS staff, but government must adequately fund NHS and social care

Dr Layla McCay responds to latest NHS monthly performance statistics which show busiest summer on record for ambulance service.

8 September 2022

The latest NHS monthly performance statistics published today (Thursday 8th September) show:

  • Lowest number of patients waiting for diagnostic tests (1,521,711) since February (1,507,483).
  • Busiest summer (June- August) ever for ambulance staff dealing with the most serious ‘category one’ callouts (237,000) up a third on pre-pandemic levels (177,190 in 2019).
  • The number of people waiting more than 18 months for treatment has gone down by almost a third compared to January at 51,838.

Commenting on the latest figures Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:

“Despite the fact that demand for health care is at an all-time high, these figures once again highlight the amazing effort health leaders and their teams across the country have made to drive down waiting times. 

“Cancer treatment, diagnostic tests and GP appointments are well above pre-pandemic numbers and the numbers of people waiting longest for their operations have now received treatment. 

“However, there is no hiding from the fact that both the NHS and social care are in the most challenged state they’ve been for decades, and the coming months are set to be some of busiest on record. 

“The NHS is reeling from a decade of austerity and two years of the pandemic, something which the new government must now urgently address.

“The NHS needs an immediate support package but with over 130,000 vacancies and a real-terms funding cut that could stretch to £9.4bn this year, there is no quick fix.

“Health leaders also want to see this coupled with extra investment in social care which is now desperately needed. However, this should not come at the expense of funding that has been already committed for the NHS. 

“The government must not rob Peter to pay Paul; if they do, NHS leaders will then face impossible choices on what to prioritise for their patients."