NHS winter pressures Opinion and commentary on the pressures facing England's health and social care services over winter.

Thumbnail

Many health conditions, including respiratory system diseases such as asthma, can be caused or worsened by cold weather.  Together with higher incidences of so-called ‘seasonal illnesses’ including flu and norovirus, this means the NHS often faces much greater pressure in winter, both in the community (including GPs and pharmacy services), and in secondary care in hospitals.
 
As the media warn of an impending ‘NHS winter crisis’, we take a closer look at the data, including NHS England's monthly performance statistics and daily sitreps, to examine the latest trends.

Our responses to NHS England statistics

Press release

Worrying picture of NHS performance at end of winter

14 March 2019
Press release

Health Foundation response to the NHS England monthly performance statistics for March 2019.

Press release

Performance against the 4 hour A&E target has fallen to its lowest level on record

14 February 2019
Press release

Health Foundation response to NHS Monthly Performance Statistics for February 2019

Press release

NHS coping under pressure so far this winter

10 January 2019
Press release

Health Foundation response to NHS Monthly Performance Statistics for January 2019.

How is the NHS coping this winter?

Our analysts examine the performance of the NHS in England this winter, drawing on the latest data as well as front-line experience. Services may not be in crisis at the moment, but winter is far from over and the January statistics paint a worrying picture of targets being consistently missed.

In the first blog of winter 2018/19, Cat Turton looks at three key performance indicators (A&E waits, elective waits and bed occupancy) to explore the change in demand for patient care in hospitals across England over the past few winters. In the second, Becks Fisher draws on her first-hand experience working in an extremely busy GP surgery, blogging about the struggles her patients and colleagues currently face. Finally, in March our quality team will look back at this winter as it draws to a close, reflecting on how performance has varied across different areas of England.

Blog

The NHS this winter: looking beneath the national view

14 March 2019
Blog

Lucinda Allen delves beneath the national picture to explore how local health systems in England...

Blog

Winter pressures in practice

7 March 2019
Blog

How has this winter been for GPs and their patients in England? Dr Becks Fisher describes the...

Blog

Is the NHS working on thin ice this winter?

14 February 2019
Blog

How has demand for patient care changed this winter? Cat Turton explores the pressures on NHS...

How does winter affect patient journeys?

In the winter of 2017/18, we published a series of blogs and charts examining the winter pressures faced by the NHS in England. We followed the patient journey through the health service. Topics included the situation in A&E departments, challenges with hospital admissions and high bed occupancy rates, and what delayed transfers of care mean for people leaving hospital and returning home.

Blog

NHS winter pressures: Going into hospital

15 December 2017
Blog

In this 2017 blog about winter pressures on the NHS, we look at what is happening at the front door...

Blog

NHS winter pressures: Being in hospital

5 January 2018
Blog

In this January 2018 blog, we looked at what was happening inside hospitals last winter.

Blog

NHS winter pressures: Going home from hospital

11 January 2018
Blog

Tim Gardner looks at delays leaving hospital and returning home last winter.

Further reading

Chart

Trends in people admitted from A&E and waiting after decision to admit

Chart

January 2018 Chart of the Month. Fewer people attend A&E in winter than at other times of the year,...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Our podcast series looks at the most important and topical issues affecting the future of health and care for peopl… https://t.co/lSAMpbAfdX

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