Mounting pressures threaten progress in urgent and emergency care recovery

16 February 2023

Responding to NHS England's weekly winter sit-reps, which show pressures are starting to relent, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"The relenting demand on urgent and emergency care offers a glimmer of hope for trust leaders, as it will allow them to make early progress on recovering overstretched services. However, the slight recovery in core performance standards is fragile, and with mounting pressure from ongoing strikes and the huge workforce shortages, progress could be quickly undone.

"Bed occupancy remains too high – despite more beds being made available – and trust leaders are deeply concerned about the high number of delayed discharges.

"Last week, 13,500 medically fit patients per day were unable to leave hospital, which puts a strain on the entire system including mental health and community services. Increased investment in social care would go a long way to address this.

"As trusts leaders brace themselves for the potential of escalated walkouts from nurses and ambulance workers, along with the daunting prospect of junior doctors striking next month, it's clear that a resolution between the government and unions is urgently needed.

"To avert further disruption, and to ensure NHS staff can deliver the care patients deserve, both parties need to come to the table to talk about pay for this financial year."

You can follow our analysis of the latest winter figures from NHS England through our NHS Winter Watch campaign.