In January 2017 leaked data to Dr Kirkland showed record numbers of patients were facing long stays in A&Es and showed the full extent of the winter crisis in the NHS in England. The data showed nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours in A&E week before broadcast with just one hospital hitting its target. And huge numbers also faced long waits for a bed when A&E staff admitted them into hospital as emergency cases. 485 patients waited for more than 12 hours in casualty for an inpatient bed – treble the number seen during the whole of January 2016. The figures were released at a time when the British Red Cross claimed there was a humanitarian crisis.
Since the leaking of these figures and the further leaks to Dr Kirkland for the BBC, the UK Statistics Authority asked NHS England to reduce the time lag between the events and the figures being public. The time delay has been reduced by six weeks to two.