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Average number of minutes waiting in the emergency department in the UK 2011-2018

In March 2018, a patient in Accident and Emergency in the United Kingdom would spend an average of 64 minutes waiting before treatment would begin. Since the start of the provided time interval in 2011 this is the second longest average waiting time recorded. The only time it was higher was the average waiting time in March 2016, which rose to 69 minutes. Since this point the average waiting time has gone above one hour on occasions whereas before this point it had never done so.

Substantial waiting times experienced by patients

Between January and March 2019 in England 85.1 percent of patients who attended A&E were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. This is well below the NHS’s target that 95 percent of attendees to A&E should be seen within four hours. Since 2011, the share of patients seen within four hours has been declining. In addition, since 2016 there has been a marked increase in examples of patients waiting for more than twelve hours at A&E to be admitted.

Increased number of attendances

The reasons behind the increased waiting times and the missed treatment targets could be partially explained by the increased number of people attending A&E. There were over 6.2 million attendances to the A&E department in England in the fourth quarter 2018/19. This figure has on the general increase since 2012, which means there is a greater strain on emergency services across the country.

Number of minutes waiting for treatment in the emergency room in the United Kingdom (UK) from May 2011 to March 2018

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Release date

August 2018


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

May 2011 to March 2018

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Statistics on "Emergency services in the UK"

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