• 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

Chart

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

Chart

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

Chart

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

Chart

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

You might also like...

Chart

NHS Test and Trace performance tracker

Chart

Our latest analysis on the performance of NHS Test and Trace (up to 14 October).

Press release

Survey presents a worrying picture of children's and young people’s mental health

Press release

Health Foundation response to NHS Digital’s survey on the mental health of children and young people...

Blog

Political priorities for health: autumn party conferences provide few insights

Blog

Dr Jennifer Dixon reflects on an unusual party conference season and asks what we can glean from the...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

'This is another stark warning that the government must urgently reform social care if we are to "build back better… https://t.co/DH38vLE5eV

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more