NHS facing uphill battle Health Foundation response to NHS England monthly statistics for August and September 2019

10 October 2019

In response to NHS England monthly statistics, Catherine Turton, Senior Analyst at the Health Foundation, said:

‘Today's statistics are a harsh reminder of the uphill battle facing the NHS with winter fast approaching. Performance against waiting time targets for emergency care, cancer treatment and routine operations continues to deteriorate.

‘NHS performance against the 62 day cancer target – the maximum time people urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer should wait before treatment begins – is the worst for any August since records began.

‘Improving cancer performance has long been a key pledge of the government, yet cancer survival rates in the UK continue to lag behind.

‘We urgently need more diagnostic equipment to bring us up to the standards of other countries such as Germany, which has three times as many CT and MRI scanners. The government’s recent announcement of £200m for diagnostic equipment falls well short of the £1.5bn in funding that is actually needed. 

‘The statistics also highlight that over a quarter of a million people were not seen in A&E within the four-hour target. This is over 80,000 more than this time last year.

‘The NHS faces many challenges in the lead up to winter. Significant action is needed not just to address underinvestment in vital equipment but also the shortfall of 100,000 doctors, nurses and other staff which is likely to increase in the event of a no deal Brexit.’


  • Data published by NHS England show there were 13,371 people requiring cancer treatment in August 2019 and 78.5% met the 62 day target. In August 2018, 14,437 people required treatment and 79.2% met the 62 day target.
  • This press release was amended on 14 October 2019.

Media contact

Diana Mackie
020 7257 8039

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Unfinished business

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