More patients visited A&E at the Royal Surrey County Hospital last month – but attendances were lower than over the same period last year, figures reveal.

NHS England figures show 6,863 patients visited A&E at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in March.

That was a rise of 18% on the 5,827 visits recorded during February, but 2% lower than the 6,990 patients seen in March 2022.

The figures show attendances were above the levels seen two years ago – in March 2021, there were 5,478 visits to A&E departments run by the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

All last month's attendances were via major A&E departments – those with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care.

Jessica Morris, Nuffield Trust fellow, said the data depicts a "troublesome situation for NHS recovery" as junior doctor strikes cause disruptions this week.

She said: "There is also a risk that the people who need treatment most urgently are not being effectively prioritised and this could lead to worsening conditions and a greater need for care further down the line.”

Across England, A&E departments received 2.2 million visits last month.

That was an increase of 13% compared to February, but a similar number as seen during March 2022.

The number of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments from a decision to admit to actually being admitted stood at 39,671 in March, up 13% from 34,976 in January but down 27% from a record 54,532 in December 2022.

Saoirse Mallorie, senior analyst at The King’s Fund think tank said: "Today’s figures also demonstrate that accident and emergency departments continue to be under real strain, with over 10% of people spending more than 12 hours in A&E in February."

She added: "Bringing down waiting times and making it easier for people to access treatment will need a long term approach from politicians and national leaders. This needs to include the publication and funding of the much-awaited NHS workforce plan and a renewed focus on prevention and social care."

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director for England, said: “The last few months have been demanding for the NHS as record numbers of patients have come forward for care on top of hugely disruptive strike action.

Mr Powis said the data shows demand on services is not relenting with A&E attendances and ambulance call-outs at the highest level so far this year.

“So while there is no let-up for services – and with almost 48 hours of strike action still to go – it remains as vital as ever that the public continue to come forward for care when they need it, using 999 in an emergency and using 111 online and making use of the expertise of pharmacies, GPs and community services for less urgent needs,” he said.

At Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust:

In March:

  • There were 575 booked appointments, up from 558 in February
  • 62% of arrivals were seen within four hours, against an NHS target of 95%
  • 485 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit – 7% of patients
  • Of those, six were delayed by more than 12 hours