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September 2017 Changes to Accident and Emergency Statistics 

20-09-2017 22:08

Hospital Accident and Emergency Activity


NHS Digital and NHS England have announced a change to the forthcoming ‘Hospital Accident and Emergency Activity 2016/17’ publication which is due to be released in advance of the next winter period on NHS Digital’s website. In this announcement, they say:


Following discussions with the UKSA and in response to a request from them to improve the timeliness and coherence of the landscape of A&E statistics, NHS Digital and NHS England are collaborating on this publication and it will be a joint release presenting both annual HES and an annual summary of monthly A&E ‘Sitrep’ statistics. Traditionally this publication has focussed on HES data and has been released around January/February time of the following year. By bringing it forward we are presenting the 16/17 finalised annual statistics before the next winter period; this will help avoid confusion with the more up-to-date monthly performance figures which will continue to be published by NHS England (with a reduced time-lag of 2 weeks, rather than 6).


In addition the joint annual publication will be presented as a ‘powerpoint’ style overview containing key graphs and charts, rather than a traditional report. We are hoping this will give a more visual and accessible presentation of the key findings at national level, and we plan to include:

  • The change over time in numbers attending A&E, including by age-band and type of A&E department
  • Performance over time against national standards
  • Performance against national standard by provider
  • Distribution of time spent in A&E
  • Number of patients spending over 12 hrs in A&E
  • Distribution of attendances by time of day, day of week, month
  • Analysis of patients arriving by ambulance
  • Trends over time in admissions following an A&E attendance
  • Trends over time in re-attendances to A&E, plus analysis by day of week, age and sex


These charts will draw on both data sources, using the most appropriate in each instance. They will be accompanied by a supporting document explaining the data sources in more depth, plus detailed tables of data as with previous releases. The overall aim of this change is to improve the reporting of Official Statistics around A&E; to give a clear and coherent picture of A&E activity, and to improve its timeliness. We hope you welcome these changes and we’d be happy to hear any feedback you may have on the publication.


Looking further ahead, the launch of the Emergency Care Dataset (ECDS) will enable new and exciting analyses to be performed, particularly around clinical treatment in A&E and cause of attendance. We will be engaging with stakeholders further to gather views, shape analytical priorities and design future publications.


Jane Winter (NHS Digital) & Paul Steele (NHS England)


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