This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS asked for clearer A&E performance statistics

NHS asked for clearer A&E performance statistics

The UK Statistics Authority has asked NHS England for ‘clearer Accident and Emergency (A&E) statistics’.

The UK Statistics Authority has asked NHS England for ‘clearer Accident and Emergency (A&E) statistics’.

Director general for regulation at the UK Statistics Authority Ed Humpherson said that an unpublished letter – seen by Healthcare Leader – from NHS Improvement in October about new pathways to trusts ‘may be having an impact on recording practice’.

In a separate letter to NHS England, Mr Humpherson continued: ‘The published statistics from October 2017 should be clearer on the impact of changes to recording practice and the interpretation that should be applied by users.

‘Misleading conclusions’

He said: ‘Changes in the way that statistics are collected, compiled and presented should be clearly explained, reassuring all users that the production and quality of the published data is trustworthy.

‘This will support better decision making and avoid users reaching misleading conclusions.’

An NHS Improvement spokesperson said that ‘there is variation in how trusts report A&E data, given the complex way in which patients receive these services’.

They said: ‘Next month’s publication data will make clear any changes that have been made to the reporting of data in recent months whilst we undertake a process with each system across the country to understand what data is being reported and what services this covers.

The outcomes will be published in spring 2018 and included in the NHS England and NHS Improvement winter review. 

In October 2017, national performance against the A&E target, which requires 95% of patients to be treated, assessed or discharged within four hours, was 90.1% and 88.9%.

This, known as the four-hour standard, is based on the total time patients spend in A&E, including walk-in centres, which ‘may be co-located with a major A&E or sited in the community’, said NHS England.

In its October letter, NHS Improvement asked trusts to include statistics from walk-in centres ‘on co-located and non co-located sites’.

Wrong data?

But according to NHS England, walk-in centre data can be included ‘only if the trust has clinical responsibility for the service or if it co-located on the trust's grounds’.

Performances might then have been altered, as centres tend to see and treat patients quicker than those going into emergency care.

In his letter, Mr Humpherson said that, in the future, A&E statistics could be ‘formally assessing against the Code of Practice with a view to their designation as National Statistics.

He wrote: ‘As you are aware, assessing the statistics would support and complement your own developments to the data.

‘National Statistics designation demonstrates that the statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value, and as such can provide users with confidence in the statistics.’


Ads by Google