UKSA letter and BBC News video show scale of NHS crisis UNDER-reported

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A BBC News video report today from North Tees Hospital showed the strain under which the NHS has been placed in the so-called ‘winter crisis’. Funding under the Tories is increasing at a far slower rate than the historical average 4% – making the NHS seriously under-resourced.

The report – filmed at one of England’s best-performing A&E (Accident & Emergency) departments – also gave a glimpse of the human cost of the crisis as patients waited and suffered in corridors and makeshift wards.

But most tellingly, it also revealed ways in which patients enduring long waits are kept out of the A&E performance statistics altogether:

At the end of the clip, the BBC’s Health Editor Hugh Pym discusses the fact that patients waiting up to six hours – well over the target time of four hours – are not included in A&E statistics at all, while other hospitals are including statistics from other facilities in their own, presumably places that are hitting targets, in order to drag up their own stats.

Pym also refers to the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA)’s belief that the current way statistics are being presented is ‘seriously misleading‘.

UKSA today issued a letter – described as ‘oblique‘ by the Chief Executive of the Royal Statistical Society – indicating, as the CEO described it, that “something odd is happening to A&E stats“:

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The reference to an “unpublished letter.. having an impact on recording practice” raises the possibility that NHS Trusts have been told to adopt practices that keep some of the worst numbers out of the official A&E statistics – and makes it certain that numbers are not as clear, nor methodologies as transparent, as they should be.


Whatever the details of these opaque methodologies, the BBC report alone is sufficient to make it clear that what the BBC called record waiting times across A&Es in England are in fact under-reported.

The real situation under this government is worse – possibly far worse – than we have so far been told.

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  1. The NHS doesn’t have the money to provide me with decent health care – BUT IT DOES HAVE THE MONEY to take me to court for not paying a bill I know nothing about – get in touch if you want the story

    1. The NHS doesn’t have the money to provide you with decent health care. Your not alone there, but that is down to deliberate Tory underfunding.
      But do have the money to take you to court?
      You sound angry towards the NHS and not the Tories for creating the problems NHS staff are dealing with.
      If you don’t owe the NHS why are they taking you to court?
      I don’t think there’s a story, I think your angry at the wrong people.

      1. You don’t know what you are talking about – agree about the tory privatisation by stealth programme – but the NHS is not innocent of abuse – don’t be too one dimensional!

      2. Ron, are you aware that the Tories have taken £42 billion out of NHS budgets since 2012, that is just over a third of the total budget, how do you think you would cope with a third less income?
        Don’t be so one dimensional, it’s the Tories not the NHS.

    2. It probably has the money to take you to court because it insurers itself for such eventualities and the NHSBSA is a separate department with it’s own budget so don’t get the connections you make

  2. Oh no, not abuse of statistics again by our dear Tory government!

    I know we have been wondering for a while how certain types of cases are being recorded.
    In our rural area, ambulances seem to turn up and treat patients in situ, sometimes for several hours. Is this considered a better solution for the patient, rather than the ambulance crew driving the patient to A&E, and then waiting in a long queue of ambulances? Or is there a policy that if they can possibly patch up the patient without taking them to hospital that patient won’t be counted on the statistics? It’s certainly not how it used to be.

    I’m not at all surprised to hear the NHS is in an even worse state than we are being led to believe … and that’s bad enough. We need the truth.

  3. Yes, it was a shocking report in every way. And, yes, NHS staff are just brilliant. But WHY is this happening? No analysis from the BBC. It’s ‘slash, trash and privatise’ in human (sorry, inhuman) form. #DefendOurNHS

  4. MAY to HUNT, “How can we fiddle these figures to make them sound good”?
    HUNT to MAY, “Leave it to me MA’AM”, “I know, just the person”!
    “ME”, “of course”!

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