This follows a recommendation from Sir Bruce Keogh to NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens in a letter published in June entitled ‘making waiting times work for patients’.
NHS England’s National Medical Director recommended that we “standardise reporting arrangements so that performance statistics for A&E, Referral to Treatment Times, cancer, diagnostics, ambulances, NHS111 and delayed transfers of care all be published on one day each month.”
As the first set of monthly data was published, Dr Barbara Hakin, National Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England, said: “This information gives us a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the current operational performance of the NHS than has ever been presented before.
“It shows high performance levels across the country, in the face of growing demand for care treatments as a result of our growing and ageing population. And with the NHS providing new and innovative treatment, more people are living longer than ever before with complex conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
“Across the board the data shows increased pressures: ambulance journeys up 7.9% year-on-year, emergency admissions up 2.7%, and diagnostic tests up 5.9%, all supported by a resilient NHS with remarkable frontline staff.
“It also underlines the need for redesigned services as set out in the NHS’ Five Year Forward View.
“And having recently published the report of the independent cancer taskforce, we plan to take comprehensive action on cancer care, improving survival rates and saving thousands more lives.
“In the last five years the number of cancer referrals has leapt by 645,000 or 71%, meaning GPs are increasingly spotting the warning signs early and referring people for tests. We are diagnosing and treating more people than ever before and, as a result, more people than ever are surviving cancer. We continue to treat the vast majority of patients within a month, whether that’s surgery, radiotherapy or drugs.
“As these statistics and new performance standards demonstrate, throughout the NHS patients are getting better care than ever before, and they are getting it when they need it and where they need it.”
Following today’s publication, NHS England is looking at mental health waiting times statistics following the same pattern once available, as well as considering whether other data collections can be similarly aligned.