Emergency Care Benchmarking 2016 – Findings published

The NHS Benchmarking Network is pleased to present the findings from the fifth phase of Network’s national benchmarking project for Emergency Care services.

Emergency care is a complex service with many facets across the NHS. The emergency care system is under increasing pressure, with the need to optimise the urgent and emergency care system to work as safely, efficiently and effectively as possible. This project focuses on the provider perspective and reviews the provision of Accident and Emergency services (Type 1&2) as well as alternative community based services such as Walk In Centres, Urgent Care Centres and Minor Injuries Units (Type 3).

Although the sums of money invested in emergency care are highly material, there is limited national benchmarking information available on the service beyond profiling of access arrangements, waiting times, and demand levels. The Network project aims to supplement available national metrics with relevant data on service models, infrastructure, capacity, demand, workforce, finance and service quality.

58 Trusts and Health Boards (HBs) participated in this iteration, covering 60 Type 1&2 centres and 50 Type 3 departments. An Urgent Care report analysing the system from a commissioner perspective, which has received contributions from 61 commissioners, is also available to download on the NHS Benchmarking Network’s website.

As well as a national report, good practice compendium, and online toolkit, available to all Network members, this year bespoke reports have been produced for all participants.

Highlights from 2015/16

  • Results confirm ongoing demand pressure impacting Type 1 A&E services. Type 1 and 2 ED services have seen a 3% growth in attendances in the last 12 months.
  • Departments are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the four-hour waiting target. In 2015/16, 13.6% of patients waited four hours or more in ED, compared with 10.3% in 2015.
  • Average length of attendance has increased year on year, from 138 minutes in 2012 to 188 minutes in 2016.
  • The amount of Consultant time deployed within ED has increased from 91 hours in 2015 to 98 hours this year.
  • Staffing levels have improved in the last year, although additional use of bank and agency staff has been a notable element of this increased provision.
  • The use of Type 3 services remains hugely variable across the NHS. Access to these services remains rapid, although utilisation and provision is mixed. These services continue to be nurse led and offer a broad range of ambulatory services.

Emergency care continues to be a priority area for members and the emergency care project will take place once more in 2017. The NHS Benchmarking Network would like to hear your views on the content of the 2017 benchmarking project.

Comments and suggestions for the project’s process, content and outputs can be sent to:

Leigh Jenkins
Project Manager

David Hughes

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