Fewer patients visited A&E at the Somerset Trust last month – but attendances were higher than over the same period last year, figures reveal.

NHS England figures show 21,762 patients visited A&E at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust in July.

That was a slight drop from the 21,827 visits recorded during June, but 32% more than the 16,474 patients seen in July 2022.

The figures show attendances were above the levels seen two years ago – in July 2021, there were 16,640 visits to A&E departments run by the Somerset Trust.

Most attendances last month were via major A&E departments – those with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care – while 42% were via minor injury units.

Professor Julian Redhead, NHS England's national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, said the figures are a reminder of the significant pressure staff are facing this summer.

He added the health service will need to prioritise emergency care “once again” as a fifth round of junior doctor strike are set to begin this week.

Across England, A&E departments received 2.2 million visits last month – down from June, but slightly above the number of visits seen in July 2022.

The NHS said the data suggests this summer is on track to be the busiest ever with 4.4 million attendances in A&E over June and July.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund, said: "The latest figures paint a grim picture, with only 74% of patients seen within four hours at A&E, rather than the target of 95%."

The operational standard target of 95% was replaced last year with an intermediary threshold target of 76% to be hit by March 2024.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We are working to get 800 new ambulances on the road, create 5,000 extra hospital beds and scale up virtual wards as part of our Urgent and Emergency Care plan to further reduce waiting times."

At Somerset NHS Foundation Trust:

In July:

  • 79% of arrivals were seen within four hours, against an NHS target of 95%
  • 311 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit – 1% of all arrivals
  • Of those, three were delayed by more than 12 hours