The NHS Index

The NHS Index

Where in the country is the National Health Service functioning best?

When people feel unwell, they often get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and take vitamins and supplements to aid recovery. However, some injuries and illnesses require further expert medical care from a doctor or other healthcare professional. The United Kingdom is fortunate to have the National Health Service (NHS), which has been in place in the UK since 1948, providing government-funded free healthcare to British citizens.  

As we all know, the NHS has encountered certain challenges over the years and has struggled to reach patient healthcare targets despite the best efforts of the staff there. In some areas, this has resulted in NHS trusts being placed under special measures by the Government.

The NHS is performing better in some areas of the country than others, especially when it comes to meeting wait time targets. But where in the country is the NHS performing at its best? By looking into the data, we can see how well the NHS performs in each English constituency area and how each compares with national targets.  

Top 5 best-performing constituencies 

Top 5 best-performing constituencies

1. Epsom and Ewell, NHS score of 7.83/10:

The Surrey area of Epsom and Ewell is just south of London and is home to around 80,000 people. According to our findings, the area boasts the best-performing NHS service in the country, with 99% of patients receiving referred treatment within one year. Epsom and Ewell’s NHS is also hitting targets when it comes to overnight hospital beds, with 92% (on target) occupied. 

2. Chelsea and Fulham, NHS score of 7.80/10:

The second-best performing constituency is the West London area of Chelsea and Fulham; just like Epsom and Ewell, the NHS met or exceeded targets in three categories. 61% of people can access next-day GP appointments (one of the highest rates in the country), 90% of overnight hospital beds are occupied, and 76% of people are seen and discharged from hospital within four hours. 

3. Selby and Ainsty, NHS score of 7.77/10:

Selby and Ainsty is a large constituency area which was only created in 2010. It is an area situated between the cities of York and Leeds, and it is home to around 77,000 people. The people of Selby and Ainsty will generally get an Ambulance to them in 29 minutes if they have chest pain or a stroke; there are also 90% of overnight hospital beds occupied (below capacity target). 

4. Hemsworth, NHS score of 7.70/10: 

Hemsworth is another Yorkshire constituency where the NHS is performing well; the area is famous for its mining history and covers the towns of Featherstone and Hemsworth itself. There is a very similar performance as in Selby; however, there is a lower percentage (84%) of times people get a hospital bed within 30 minutes.  

5. Maidstone and the Weald, NHS score of 7.67/10:

The NHS is beating or matching its targets for half of the factors in Maidstone and the Weald; however, poor performances in the percentage of diagnostic tests taking place within six weeks (83%) means it only ranks in fifth place. 84% of patients are seen and discharged within four hours from hospitals in this region, 8% higher than the NHS target.

NHS best performing constituencies

Top 5 worst-performing constituencies 

Top 5 worst-performing constituencies 

1. North West Norfolk, NHS score of 1.90/10:

The constituency where the NHS is performing the worst in the country is North West Norfolk; the eastern area is home to around 70,000 people who will be alarmed to hear that the NHS is not meeting any of its targets. Worryingly, just 44% of patients will get a hospital bed within 30 minutes, over 50% less than the NHS target. 

2. Chippenham, NHS score of 2.05/10:

From the east to the west, Chippenham is a constituency area surrounding the town which shares its name in Wiltshire. Similarly to North West Norfolk, the NHS is failing to meet any of its targets in Chippenham, performing particularly poorly for the percentage of hospital beds occupied overnight (98%). 

3. North Wiltshire, NHS score of 2.10/10:

The neighbouring constituency to Chippenham is North Wiltshire, and the NHS is only performing slightly better there. The NHS in North Wiltshire performs slightly better regarding the percentage of people receiving diagnostic tests within six weeks (70%) and those starting cancer treatment within a month of the decision to start treatment (89%). 

4. Bath, NHS score of 2.13/10:

A third constituency in this area of the country is around the ancient city of Bath. Those living in the city will have to wait an average of 37 minutes for an ambulance if they are experiencing chest pain or a stroke, and, on average, will only get a hospital bed within 30 minutes 58% of the time.  

5. Mid Norfolk, NHS score of 2.14/10:

Mid-Norfolk is another constituency area where the NHS is massively underperforming against its targets, with only 45% of people able to access a next-day GP appointment. It is especially low regarding the percentage of patients who get a hospital bed within 30 minutes; this happens just 35% of the time compared to the target of 95%.

The NHS top 5 worst-performing constituencies


  • We took data on NHS performance against eight targets from Bloomberg UK.
  • We then gave each constituency area a normalised score out of ten for each factor before taking an average.