Winter Flow Project 2018/19

In 2015 we launched the ‘Winter Flow Project’ in an effort to highlight the difficulties facing an NHS struggling with unprecedented financial difficulties and insufficient resources.

The project looked at patient flow within Emergency Departments over the winter. It was great success because of the generosity of its contributors, with over 50 NHS Trusts and Health boards from across the UK submitting data over a six-month period. This data helped to provide a better understanding system pressures and 4-hour standard performance. 

This enabled the RCEM to broaden the debate around emergency medicine beyond the usual narrow focus on the 4-hour standard, and meant that providers, commissioners, the national press, and Governments in each of the nations of the UK were better informed about the challenges you face.

In our view, the project has also been instrumental in making the case for additional resources for the health sector; which is now reflected in the new settlement for the NHS which has recently been announced by the Government. 

Given the success of the project in highlighting these issues, the College has decided to continue the project for 2018/19.  This year’s project will continue to collect the following data points on a weekly basis:

  • Type one 4 hour standard performance
  • The number of acute beds in service
  • The number of cancelled elective operations
  • The number of patients in their trust for whom hospitalisation in an acute trust is no longer medically required
  • The number of locum staff employed within your Emergency Department.
The project will run from the beginning of October 2018 to the end of March 2019. All the information submitted will be anonymised and aggregated to provide a system wide picture while avoiding unhelpful scrutiny of individual sites. Moreover, the data will only be discussed and published in aggregate form.

For further information about the project please contact simon.howes@rcem.ac.uk

Reports from and details of previous years' projects can be found below.

Winter Flow Project 2017/18

Our third annual winter flow project ran from the beginning of October 2017 to the end of March 2018. Alongside the metrics we have run previously, this year saw the introduction of a fifth measure: the number of locum staff employed within each ED.

Documents and Releases

Final report:

Halfway report:

Weekly reports and figures:

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