NHS Providers responds to new plans to prepare NHS for winter pressures

18 October 2022

Responding to new plans announced by NHS England today to prepare the health service for winter, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"Trusts are working incredibly hard ahead of what is expected to be a very difficult winter. They have been at the forefront of efforts to expand capacity through creating more beds, virtual wards, investment in mental health pathways and ramping up the number of 111 and 999 call handlers.

"New measures announced today, including steps to respond to falls, will help ease some of the pressure on urgent and emergency care services at a time when the entire system is under strain. The ambulance service, community providers and acute trusts are increasingly working together to ensure more patients, including those who fall at home or in care, get the right treatment, in the right place, by the right health and care professional.

"Similarly, the creation of new 'control rooms' should support collaboration by local health and care partners to tackle the multiple challenges which arise over the tricky winter months, while respiratory hubs could help manage any surges arising from a potential 'twindemic' of flu and COVID-19.

"We must remember though that the NHS is going into winter in a precarious position. While today's announcements will make a welcome contribution to helping ease the pressures facing trusts over the coming months, without major action to tackle workforce shortages, staff exhaustion and burnout, and the inability to free up capacity by discharging medically fit patients in a safe and timely way, the NHS could still be thrown off course this winter."