NHS heading towards winter of discontent

08 September 2016

Monthly performance figures published today by NHS England once again reveal the continuing strain the NHS is under.

Commenting in response to the figures, NHS Providers head of analysis Siva Anandaciva said:

“We are becoming increasingly worried about this continuing deterioration in performance. The summer is usually a quieter time for the NHS but these figures show the strain is being felt by NHS trusts all year round. We are heading towards a winter of discontent, with this relentless cycle of record high A&E attendances, increasing emergency admissions and greater numbers of patients who cannot be discharged because the services they need in the community are not being properly resourced. This is really taking its toll on NHS services and health care staff.”

We are heading towards a winter of discontent

The July combined performance summary shows a number of key targets being missed and a worsening picture from this time last year. Record numbers of fit-for-discharge patients remain in hospital beds, attendances to A&E are rising and cancer patients are waiting the longest time since records began (2009) for treatment to start.

These most recent figures highlight NHS Providers’ growing concern that the demands being placed on the NHS are becoming increasingly impossible to deliver within the funding available. The King’s Fund Quarterly Monitoring Report, also published today, shows a similar picture, with nearly half (47 per cent) of trusts forecasting that they will end the year (2016/17) in deficit.

Siva Anandaciva added:

“We need to be honest with the public about the consequences of the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history. The NHS will be performing heroically well to just maintain existing standards of care in the next 12 months. The real fear is that we lose all the progress achieved in recent decades to improve both the quality of care and how long people have to wait for it.”
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