NHS faces exceptional winter pressures
11 January 2018
NHS England has published its combined performance summary for December and the winter daily sitreps up to January 7.
The figures show:
- Emergency admissions in December reached 520,163 – the highest monthly figure on record
- The general and acute average bed occupancy was 95.0 per cent
- 4 hour performance in major (type 1) A & E depertments was was 77.3 per cent – the lowest on record
Responding to the latest data releases from NHS England, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:
"These figures reflect the exceptional challenges we are seeing this winter. We have more patients coming in, and many of them are seriously ill, and that is why emergency admissions have reached record levels.
"The NHS put in place extensive preparations for winter, but despite opening nearly 2000 extra beds last week to cope with the additional pressures, bed occupancy was at 95 per cent, well above the recommended safe limit of 85 per cent.
The truth is that the NHS can only do so much with current funding. We have reached a watershed moment.
"It is also worrying that last week we saw an increase in delays of more than an hour for patients being handed over from their ambulance to A & E. That is a sure sign of difficulties coping with the number of patients who need to be admitted, and by taking ambulances off the road it also raises the risk of delays for other people who call for help.
"The truth is that the NHS can only do so much with current funding. We have reached a watershed moment. As we have outlined in our letter to Jeremy Hunt, it is time for the government to address the long term funding of health and social care, and make the big decisions needed no later than the autumn Budget, to ensure the health service can meet the standards of care enshrined in the NHS constitution.
"Failure to act now will lead to those standards moving further beyond reach. This would harm the quality of care, causing delays and distress for patients and weakening staff morale. It could also undermine public faith in the NHS."