how many patients are treated by the nhs? how much does it cost the nhs for treatments? nhs statistics, nhs patient activity, cost of going to a&e, cost of an operation, cost of a gp appointment

How many patients are treated by the NHS?

By Luke Aldred

​The NHS is the 5th biggest employer in the world and around 10% of government spending in the UK is allocated to it. The scale of operation is huge, with millions being treated every year. So, what are the statistics and how much does it cost the NHS for treatments?

NHS patient activity

The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. In 2016/17, there were a total of 16.3 million hospital admissions, 28% more than a decade earlier, and 23.4 million attendances to A&E departments, 23.5% higher than 10 years previous. Read more about the NHS hospitals.

The cost of going to A&E

Many patients who attend hospital go through the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, with Monday being the busiest day for admissions. The cost varies depending on the type of A&E a person goes to (from a major, consultant-led department to an urgent care centre) and the type of treatment they receive. If someone attends an urgent care centre and gets the lowest level of treatment, the average cost is around £45. However, if a person visits a major A&E department and receives a more complex investigation and treatment, the average cost will jump up to approximately £400.

The cost of an operation

Again, this varies depending on a few factors, such as the type of procedure and how long the patient stays in hospital afterwards to recover. For example, in 2018/19 the cost of a hip replacement varied from £6,068 to £11,632 depending on the complexity of the operation and the condition of the patient. Take a look at the national tariff payment system for the average cost of NHS procedures.

The cost of a GP appointment

A study estimated that, in 2017/18, the average 9-minute GP consultation costs £37.40.

Find out who has to pay for NHS treatment.

For more information on NHS careers, read our collection of blogs.