• In previous analyses we explored how COVID-19 is changing the use of emergency care on a national and regional level.
  • In these charts we add in the data for May 2020 and reflect on how the picture is changing as the COVID-19 outbreak progresses.

National picture

  • As in March and April, A&E visits and emergency admissions through A&E were lower in May than in the same month the year before. Ambulance crews transported fewer patients to A&E with more patients treated at the scene.
  • The percentage reductions in A&E visits, emergency admissions through A&E and the numbers of patients transported to A&E were smaller than in April showing that levels of activity are starting to recover. However, the falls are slightly larger than in March when the lockdown began.
  • Emergency admissions have recovered at a faster rate than A&E visits, with such admissions 24% down in May compared to 22% down in March.
  • Visits to major A&E departments were down 33% in May compared 26% in March. The slowest to recover have been activity in minor A&E departments, where visits in May were 58% lower than the total in March 2019. However, these are typically the patients where care could be provided by other NHS services, such as 111 or primary care.

Regional picture

  • The broad patterns of emergency care use are similar across regions. All regions experienced reductions in visits to minor and major A&E departments, emergency admissions through A&E and patients transported to A&E by ambulance.
  • London had the largest reduction in major A&E visits (41%), emergency admissions (35%) and the number of patients transported to A&E via ambulance (26%) in May. This is despite London no longer having the highest COVID-19 infection rates. The reductions in minor A&E visits in London are similar to those in other regions.
  • The North West had the smallest year on year fall in emergency admissions through A&E in May (16%). This is less than half the reduction in London.
  • All regions experienced a year on year fall in ambulance incidents in May, with the largest reductions in London (12%), the North West, and the South West (both 9%).

Further reading


How is COVID-19 changing the use of emergency care?

Elaine Kelly and Zoe Firth look at how activity in the emergency care sector has changed since the...


How is COVID-19 changing the use of emergency care by region?

Changes in the overall number of ambulance incidents have been small but there are large changes in...

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