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Publication, Part of

Hospital Accident & Emergency Activity 2021-22

Official statistics

Current Chapter

Hospital Accident & Emergency Activity 2021-22

Consultation: proposed improvements to the Hospital Accident and Emergency Activity publication

The data included within the 2022-23 release will remain the same or have minor changes to this publication and the publication series, details about the changes can be found within the consultation.

Please complete our consultation about the changes and share your feedback by 18th August 2023
Consultation for Hospital Accident and Emergency Activity

18 August 2023 17:00 PM


This is a publication on Accident and Emergency (A&E) activity in English NHS hospitals and English NHS-commissioned activity in the independent sector. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2022. It contains final data and replaces the provisional data that are published each month.

This is a joint publication between NHS Digital and NHS England. This collaboration enables data to be brought together from different sources enabling inclusion of a wider set of breakdowns and measures and a more complete picture to be presented.

The data sources for this publication are the Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) for2020-21 and 2021-22, HES A&E for activity prior to 2020-21 and the A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions Monthly Situation Reports (MSitAE). This is the second year this report has been produced using ECDS in its submitted format, replacing the use of Hospital Episode Statistics (HES). Further information is available in the Data Quality Statement.

The ECDS data set contains several new and additional reporting fields not previously available in HES A&E enabling new insights to be identified from data. Reported information based on these new splits and metrics presented within the report are presented as Experimental Statistics and should be used with caution. Experimental statistics are new official statistics undergoing evaluation.

They are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage. More information about experimental statistics can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.

This publication releases some high level analyses of both ECDS/HES and MSitAE data relating to A&E attendances in NHS hospitals, minor injury units and walk-in centres. It includes analysis by patient demographics, time spent in A&E, distributions by time of arrival and day of week, arriving by ambulance, performance times, waits for admission and re-attendances to A&E within 7 days.

The following additional analyses are also included in this report:

• Comparison of 4 hour and 12 hour waits between the four home nations, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

• A&E attendances by Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)

• A&E attendances by ethnicity

• Weekly variation in attendance activity during the pandemic, by department type

Total A&E attendances

In 2021-22 there were 24.4 million attendances in Accident and Emergency (Source: MSitAE)

This is an increase of 39.8 per cent compared with 2020-21 and an increase of 12.1 per cent since 2012-13

Total time spent in A&E

For 2021-22, 76.7 per cent of patient attendances spent 4 hours or less in A&E (Source: MSitAE).  

This is a decrease compared to 2020-21 where 86.8 per cent of patient attendances spent 4 hours or less in A&E.

A&E attendances in deprived areas

Rates of A&E attendances per head of population for people living in the most deprived areas are nearly double that of those in the least deprived (Source: ECDS)

There were around twice as many attendances to A&E departments in England for the 10% of the population living in the most deprived areas (3.0 million), compared with the least deprived 10% (1.5 million)

Home Nations Comparison

England had the second highest reported Type 1 A&E attendance rate amongst the home nations (Source: MSitAE)

England had 28,537 attendances per 100,000 population. Northern Ireland were the highest with 33,464 attendances per 100,000 population

A&E Attendances by Age Band

In 2021-22 patients aged under 35 years of age accounted for 47.1 per cent of all attendances. (Source: ECDS)  

This has increased from 41.2 per cent in 2020-21

A 2021-22 finalised annual position of the Accident and Emergency Quality Indicators for England are also published as part of this publication helping to share information on the quality of care of A&E services to stimulate the discussion and debate between patients, clinicians, providers and commissioners, which is needed in a culture of continuous improvement.

Click here to access the interactive report


Last edited: 7 July 2023 11:55 am