Emergency care already under significant pressure as very tough winter gets underway

13 December 2019

Responding to the latest monthly combined performance data from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the first week of winter reporting data, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:

“We are facing a very tough winter. The question now is how severe and what toll it will take on patient care and staff.

“This follows an extremely busy November, with the service once again recording the worst performance against the four hour standard on record and the number of people waiting for routine surgery and treatment growing to 4.4 million. Performance continues to fall against key standards despite NHS front line staff working harder than ever to see more people.

“The first week of formal winter reporting already shows emergency care is under significant pressure. Hospital beds are as full as they were for nearly every week of last winter, and the delays in handing over patients from ambulances tell a similar story.

This follows an extremely busy November, with the service once again recording the worst performance against the four hour standard on record and the number of people waiting for routine surgery and treatment growing to 4.4 million.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“It is clear we’ve seen an early spike in flu, while others have been battling norovirus cases, which are already double the levels we saw last year. This potent mix coming up against an already overstretched service will mean tough choices over winter. While systems are coming together and have prepared extensively, without additional social care places and community-based care the pressure on NHS services will continue to rise.

We need to be realistic and honest about what needs to be done to close the capacity gaps that have been allowed to open up in the workforce, services and beds.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“An extremely difficult winter for the NHS will be one of the immediate challenges facing the new government. We need to be realistic and honest about what needs to be done to close the capacity gaps that have been allowed to open up in the workforce, services and beds.

“We need to see answers to some of the big questions ducked in this election campaign - that means putting social care on a sustainable footing, acting immediately to reduce staff vacancies and ensuring the NHS has the investment it needs for its infrastructure to meet the needs of the population of the 21st century.”

 

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