Quarterly performance of the NHS provider sector: quarter 4 2018/19

During quarter 4, patient demand reached record levels, but the NHS had planned well for winter pressure. So, despite unprecedented demand, NHS providers delivered the first winter year-on-year improvement in the core emergency care standard in five years.

Key findings between January and March 2019

  • Emergency Departments (EDs) treated or discharged 5.3 million patients within four hours of arrival between January and March – 314,594 more than last year
  • the NHS delivered its first winter year-on-year improvement on ED performance in five years – despite surge in patient demand
  • providers also made £3.2 billion of efficiency savings over the last year
  • based on the final accounts for the year to 31 March 2019, the provider sector reported a deficit of £571 million, £395 million better than the same period last year

2019/20 is an important year for the NHS. It will begin delivering the vision outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS providers will make strides to further improve their financial sustainability. To support this complex and challenging agenda, a new financial regime has been in place since 1 April 2019, which will support the objective of ensuring that every trust achieves financial balance by 2023/24.