The latest NHS monthly performance statistics have shown that pressure on the NHS is at ‘fever pitch’.

A&E attendances in the last 12 months were 3.6% higher than the preceding 12 month period, with 544,904 emergency admissions in December 2018, 4.6% more than in December 2017.

The number of patients seen in over four hours, however, was 277,646 compared to 300,893 in December 2017, an impressive decrease of 7.7%.

One and a half million patients started consultant-led treatment in November 2018, with 16.1 million completed RTT pathways in the same time frame, up 0.4%.

In response to the statistics, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Despite significant increases in the number of people needing treatment, the NHS has again managed to keep its head above water and even deliver improvements on last year’s performance.

"This is good news for patients and the public and is in no small part down to the hard work of staff and robust planning from NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups and other local organisations.

“Yet these statistics show the pressure on the NHS is still at fever pitch – and that’s without the severely cold weather or flu and norovirus outbreaks that may be yet to come.

He went on to warn: “We are not yet out of the woods and we need to find a more sustainable way of providing care. The new NHS Long Term Plan, with its emphasis on joined-up community care, is a major step forward and should help to improve patient care and relieve pressure on hospitals and other front-line services.

“The public may again be concerned that key waiting time targets, such as the A&E four-hour standard, are again not being met. But they should take comfort from the fact that more people than ever are being treated within the four-hour standard.”