Key statistics on the NHS

tablet showing graphs

7 / 7 / 2015 12:00 PM

We have compiled some key statistics on the NHS. This data was last updated in July 2015. The figures apply to England, unless otherwise stated.

NHS funding

Providers and commissioners of NHS services    

There are currently in England:

NHS staff



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.
  • However in the category of healthy lives (10th), the NHS fared less well.
  • Current health expenditure in the UK was 8.46 per cent of GDP in 2013. This compares to 16.43 per cent in the USA, 11.12 per cent in the Netherlands, 10.98 per cent in Germany, 10.95 per cent in France, 10.40 per cent in Denmark, 10.16 per cent in Canada and 8.77 per cent in Italy.
  • Current expenditure per capita (using the purchasing power parity) for the UK was $3,235 in 2013. This can be compared to $8,713 in the USA, $5,131 in the Netherlands, $4,819 in Germany, $4,553 in Denmark, $4,351 in Canada, $4,124 in France and $3,077 in Italy.  
  • The UK had 2.8 physicians per 1,000 people in 2013, compared to 4.1 in Germany, 3.9 in Italy, 3.8 in Spain, 3.4 in Australia, 3.3 in France, 2.8 in New Zealand and 2.6 in Canada.
  • The UK had 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people in 2013, compared to 8.3 in Germany, 6.3 in France, 3.1 in Denmark, 3.0 in Spain and 2.8 in New Zealand.
  • Average length of stay for all causes in the UK was 7.0 days in 2013. This compares to 17.2 in Japan, 9.1 in Germany, 7.7 in Italy, 7.6 in New Zealand, 6.6 in Spain and 5.6 in France.      

Patient experience

  • In the 2014 Care Quality Commission inpatient satisfaction survey 84 per cent of c56,300 respondents rated their overall experience as 7 (11 per cent), 8 (24 per cent), 9 (22 per cent) or 10 (27 per cent) out of 10.
  • 81 per cent felt that they were always treated with dignity and respect while using inpatient services.
  • 69 per cent said that their room or ward was 'very clean.'
  • In the 2011 Care Quality Commission outpatient survey 95 per cent of people using outpatient services reported their care as being excellent (44 per cent), very good (39 per cent) or good (12 per cent).
  • 89 per cent of people agreed that they were treated with dignity and respect at all these times while visiting outpatient services.
  • 67 per cent of respondents to the CQC's community mental health services survey for 2013 rated their experience between 7 and 10 out of 10.
  • 78 per cent 'definitely' felt listened to carefully and 72 per cent 'definitely' had their views taken into account.
  • In May 2015 95.37 per cent of 184,711 inpatients treated by NHS trusts and foundation trusts would recommend their provider to friends or family (25.9 per cent response rate). For 16,243 inpatients treated by independent sector organisations, the proportion was 99.0 per cent (43.4 per cent response rate).
  • Aggregated GP Patient Survey results from July-September 2014 and January-March 2015 found that 84.8 per cent of respondents rated their overall experience at the GP surgery as 'very good' or 'fairly good.'
  • 63.5 per cent 'definitely' had confidence and trust in the last GP they saw. 74.9 per cent were satisfied with the opening hours of their practice.
  • 68.6 per cent stated their overall experience of out-of-hours GP services was 'very good' or 'fairly good.'

NHS activity

  • The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours.
  • In 2013/14 there were 44 per cent more operations ('procedures and interventions' as defined by Hospital Episode Statistics, excluding diagnostic testing) completed by the NHS compared to 2003/04, with an increase from 6.712m to 9.672m.
  • The total annual attendances at Accident & Emergency departments was 22.364m in 2014/15, 25 per cent higher than a decade earlier (17.837m).
  • The 95 per cent standard to see patients within 4 hours of arrival at Accident & Emergency departments was achieved in 21 weeks during 2014.
  • There were 15.462m total hospital admissions in 2013/14, 32 per cent more than a decade earlier (11.699m).
  • The total number of outpatient attendances in 2013/14 was 82.060m, an increase of 8.8 per cent on the previous year (75.456m).
  • In the year to September 2014, 418,661 NHS patients chose independent providers for their elective inpatient care. There were 688,977 referrals made by GPs to independent providers for outpatient care during the same period.
  • There were 1.747m people in contact with specialist mental health services in 2013/14. 105,270 (6.0 per cent) spent time in hospital.
  • There were 21.706m outpatient and community contacts arranged for mental health service users in 2013/14.
  • 53,176 people were detained for more than 72 hours under the Mental Health Act in 2013/14.
  • There were 3.140m category A calls (Red 1 and Red 2) that resulted in an emergency response in 2014/15, 9.3 per cent more than the previous year (2.872m). 
  • 71.9 per cent of Red 1 ambulance calls were responded to within eight minutes in 2014/15.
  • There was an 18.5 per cent increase in emergency incidents between 2007/08 and 2012/13, reaching 6.89m in the latter year. 
  • At the end of April 2015, there were 3.026 million patients on the waiting list for treatment. 202,590 (6.7 per cent) had been waiting for longer than 18 weeks, compared to 188,774 (6.3 per cent) at the same point in 2014.
  • Over the past three years the number of patients waiting longer than a year for treatment has declined from 4,213 in April 2012 to 411 in April 2015. In the same period, the number waiting in excess of 26 weeks has increased from 54,219 to 63,285.
  • 87.5 per cent of people with admitted pathways (adjusted) were treated within 18 weeks of referral in April 2015, compared to 90.0 per cent a year earlier. 
  • 95.2 per cent of people with non-admitted pathways were treated or discharged within 18 weeks of referral in April 2015, compared to 96.3 per cent a year earlier. 
  • At the end of April 2015, 834,067 patients were on the waiting list for a diagnostic test. Of these, 2.0 per cent had been waiting in excess of six weeks.

Health and population

  • Life expectancy for UK men in 2011-13: 78.9 years.
  • Life expectancy for UK women in 2011-13: 82.7 years
  • The UK population is projected to increase from an estimated 63.7 million in mid-2012 to 67.13 million by 2020 and 71.04 million by 2030.
  • The UK population is expected to continue ageing, with the average age rising from 39.7 in 2012 to 42.8 by 2037.
  • The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 10.84m in 2012 to 17.79m by 2037. As part of this growth, the number of over-85s is estimated to more than double from 1.44 million in 2012 to 3.64 million by 2037.
  • The number of people of State Pension Age (SPA) in the UK exceeded the number of children for the first time in 2007 and by 2012 the disparity had reached 0.5 million. However the ONS currently projects that this situation will have reversed by 2018, with 0.3 million more children than those at SPA.
  • There are an estimated 3.2 million people with diabetes in the UK (2013). This is predicted to reach 4 million by 2025. 
  • In England the proportion of men classified as obese increased from 13.2 per cent in 1993 to 26.0 per cent in 2013 (peak of 26.2 in 2010), and from 16.4 per cent to 23.8 per cent for women over the same timescale (peak of 26.1 in 2010).