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Commenting on the publication today of the NHS monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Assistant Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said: 

‘While the pressure of winter has eased, today’s data shows urgent and emergency care is still feeling the strain. Over 42,000 patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E before being admitted to a bed last month, and 1 in 10 with a serious condition such as a stroke or chest pain waited over an hour for an ambulance.  

'There are some positive signs in areas of cancer care but following several months of progress, the overall waiting list in March 2024 has remained broadly flat. Fewer than expected referrals into specialist care means the recent fall in the waiting list was largely driven by fewer patients joining the list, rather than because substantially more are being treated. The reality is the waiting list is still 7.5 million, including nearly 310,000 who have already waited more than a year. Despite the huge efforts of staff, it is clear there is still a long way to go. 

‘Lower-than-expected referrals onto the NHS waiting list may be a symptom of the pressures on general practice, as well as capacity constraints in secondary care. Recent Health Foundation projections found 700,000 more working-age adults will be living with major illness by 2040, with much of this increase from conditions typically managed in primary care.  

‘Today's statistics are a further reminder of the need to invest in general practice, particularly in the most deprived areas, as part of a long-term approach to improving the health service.'

Media contact

Nick Codling
020 8152 8116

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