New figures show 'daunting task' ahead for trust leaders

02 February 2023

Responding to the winter sit-rep data from NHS England today, which shows persisting pressure in urgent and emergency care services, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"The decrease in ambulance handover delays is a much-needed glimmer of light that reflects the tireless work of trust leaders to deliver high-quality care to patients. This is significant given the inexhaustible challenges they've faced this winter, from record-high staff vacancies to huge seasonal pressures and escalating strike action.

"However, we're not out of the woods yet. Trust leaders still face the daunting task of tackling persistently high bed occupancy – still above what's safe – and delayed discharges. Last week, nearly 14,000 patients who were medically fit to leave hospital couldn't, due to a need to invest in capacity in social care, rehabilitation and community services.

"Trust leaders are doing all they can for patients, but support is needed. The new urgent and emergency care recovery plan will play a key part with measures including boosting beds and ambulances. But to relieve pressure on the whole system – ambulances, hospital A&Es, mental health and community services – we need to tackle workforce shortages, staff exhaustion and burnout, and the worrying lack of capacity.

"Trust leaders look forward to the government's long-term workforce plan, which needs to be fully funded. The unions and the government also urgently need to negotiate on working conditions and pay for this financial year to avert more strikes."

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