Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to the NHS

Published on: 17th August 2015 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of certain services.

This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.

Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page. 

NHS Confederation - Key statistics on the NHS ( November 2016)

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Providers and commissioners of NHS services  

  • 209 clinical commissioning groups (including 199 now authorised without conditions).
  • 137 acute non-specialist trusts (including 85 foundation trusts).
  • 17 acute specialist trusts (including 16 foundation trusts).
  • 56 mental health trusts (including 43 foundation trusts).
  • 34 community providers (11 NHS trusts, 6 foundation trusts and 17 social enterprises).
  • 10 ambulance trusts (including 5 foundation trusts).
  • 7,674 GP practices.
  • 853 for-profit and not-for-profit independent sector organisations, providing care to NHS patients from 7,331 locations.

NHS staff

  • In 2015, across Hospital and Community Healthcare Services (HCHS) and GP practices, the NHS employed 149,808 doctors, 314,966 qualified nursing staff and health visitors (HCHS), 25,418 midwives, 23,066 GP practice nurses, 146,792 qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff, 18,862 qualified ambulance staff and 30,952 managers.
  • There were 32,467 additional doctors employed in the NHS in 2014 compared to 2004. The number has increased by an annual average of 2.5 per cent over that time.
  • There were 18,432 more NHS nurses in 2014 compared to ten years earlier. The number has increased by an annual average of 0.5 per cent over that period.

International comparisons

  • In comparison with the healthcare systems of ten other countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and USA) the NHS was found to be the most impressive overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2014.
  • The NHS was rated as the best system in terms of efficiency, effective care, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centred care and cost-related problems. It was also ranked second for equity.
  • Average length of stay for all causes in the UK was 6.9 days in 2014. This compares to 16.9 in Japan, 9 in Germany, 7.8 in Italy, 7.6 in New Zealand, 6.6 in Spain and 5.6 in France.

NHS activity

  • The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours.
  • The total annual attendances at A&E departments was 22.923 million in 2015/16, 22 per cent higher than a decade earlier (18.759 million).
  • The proportion of patients seen within 4 hours at A&E departments in 2015/16 was 87.9% in major (type 1 units) and 91.9% overall.
  • There were 16.252 million total hospital admissions in 2015/16, 28% more than a decade earlier (12.679 million).

Health and population

  • Life expectancy for English men in 2013-15: 79.4 years.
  • Life expectancy for English women in 2013-15: 83.1 years.
  • The number of people aged 60 and over is projected to increase from 14.9m in 2014 to 21.9m by 2039. As part of this growth, the number of over-85s is estimated to more than double from 1.5 million in 2014 to 3.6 million by 2039.

Public satisfaction with the NHS in 2015 (February 2016)

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  • Overall public satisfaction with the NHS fell by 5% in 2015 to 60%. At the same time, dissatisfaction with the service rose by 8% to 23%, taking dissatisfaction back to the levels reported between 2011 and 2013.
  • Satisfaction with GP services remained higher than with other NHS services. However, satisfaction of 69% in 2015 was the lowest rate recorded since the survey began in 1983.
  • Satisfaction with A&E services was lower than satisfaction with other hospital-based services at 53%.
  • People aged 75 and over have higher levels of satisfaction than younger people.
  • The three main reasons people gave for being satisfied with the health service were: the quality of care in the NHS, the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use, and the range of services and treatments available.
  • The three main reasons that people gave for being dissatisfied with the health service were: long waiting times, staff shortages and lack of funding.

“The Next Five Years for the NHS” speech - Simon Stevens, Chief Executive NHS England (18th May 2015)

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  • “It’ a no brainer – pull out all the stops on prevention, or face the music”.
  • “The Health Service is entering probably the most challenging period in its 67 year history”.

Department of Health - IPSOS Mori research - Public perceptions of the NHS and social care: winter 2014 (July 2015)

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  • 79% of respondents thought they were safe in a hospital if they were very ill. This was the highest proportion ever recorded.
  • Only four in 10 people think the NHS is doing everything it can to reduce waste and inefficiency.
  • 76% of the public think people are treated with dignity and respect when they use NHS services. This was the highest level of agreement ever recorded for this question.
  • 67% were satisfied with the way the NHS is run, compared to 66 per cent in the previous winter and 65 per cent the previous spring.
  • 61% agreed the NHS nationally is providing a good service.
  • 74% thought their local NHS was providing a good service, down from 78 per cent the previous year.
  • Only 26% thought the government had the right policies for the NHS.
  • The majority of respondents (70%) thought the NHS is good value for money. Only 53% agreed with this statement when the question was first asked in 2007.
  • Lack of resources and investment was seen by the public to be the biggest problem facing the NHS (39% identified it) and this has been the case for the last eight years.
  • Fewer people thought there should be limits on NHS spending than in the previous year. Just over half respondents thought there should be limits.
  • 72% were happy with NHS services for children in their area, while only 31 per cent and 29 per cent were happy with mental health and dementia services.
  • One in three – 33% – expects the NHS to get better over the next few years while a similar proportion think it will worsen – 31%. This matches previous years’ findings.

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