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During the winter months, NHS England published daily situation reports on winter pressures facing acute hospital trusts. These reports cover pressure levels, accident and emergency diverts, bed occupancy, bed days lost to D&V/Norovirus closures and statistics on NHS 111. This briefing summarises the data for the whole winter.

This summary page gives an overview of the data. The PDF report (which you can download at the bottom of this pageb) provides full information.

Pressure Levels

Between December and March, over 60% of acute NHS trusts in England reported at least one day at either OPEL Operational Pressure Level 3 (indicating major pressures) or Level 4 (indicating inability to provide comprehensive care). 55 trusts reported OPEL 3 on more than 10 occasions. 8 trusts reported OPEL 4 on more than 10 occasions. Pressure peaked on January 9th, when 62 reported either OPEL 3 or 4.

Salisbury, Dartford & Gravesham, Oxford University Hospitals and University Hospitals of Leicester trusts registered the highest number of days at OPEL 3 or 4.

 Click the thumbnails to view graphics showing OPEL pressure levels across England.

Bed Occupancy

General and acute bed occupancy was broadly in line with levels seen in previous years. On 9th January, 108 of 152 trusts reported bed occupancy above 95% and 46 trusts reported bed occupancy over 99%. On most days this winter, more than 20 trusts had occupancy above 99%.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital, North Middlesex University Hospital, Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals and Norwich & Norfolk University Hospitals had the highest average bed occupancy levels.

Click the thumbnails to view graphics showing bed occupancy levels across England.

Accident and Emergency Waiting Times

21% of patients at England’s emergency departments (type 1 A&E) spent longer than 4 hours in A&E between December and February. This compares with 16% in winter 2015/16, 14% in winter 2014/15, and 7% in winter 2013/14. In total there were 750,000 waits of over 4 hours between December 2016 and February 2017.

Hillingdon Hospitals (46.2%), London North West (45.7%) and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (38.2%) had the highest percentage of patients spending over 4 hours in major A&E departments between December and February.

There were 110,000 A&E attendances lasting 12 hours or more between November and January. Based on separately published attendance data, it’s likely that around 3% of attendances at major A&E over this period lasted over 12 hours. The number of 12 hour waits was almost double the same period last year. NHS Digital caution that there are known data quality issues around the 12 hour wait data.

Click the thumbnail to view a map of A&E waiting times in England.


NHS 111 Telephone Responses

NHS 111 is a non-emergency telephone line for healthcare advice. Overall, around nine in ten calls to NHS 111 this winter were answered within 60 seconds. The lowest performance was on 27th December, when 36.4% of calls were not answered within 60 seconds. Outside of the Christmas period, the lowest performance tended to be at weekends, and the highest performance during the week. 

Performance was lowest in the North West, with 74% of calls answered within 60 seconds. The next-lowest performing NHS 111 service was East Kent, at 83%. At the broader level of NHS regions, performance was highest in London (94%) and lowest in the North (86%).

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