Strikes and staff shortages could block recovery

09 March 2023

Responding to NHS England's performance statistics, which show relentless pressure on the health service, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"Despite the reduction in 18-month waits, relentless pressure on the health service threatens recovery. Last month, waiting lists grew overall.

"Ambulance handover delays and delayed discharges remain very high, which reflects the fundamental mismatch between demand and capacity across all systems.

"This slows down patient flow across the health and care services, including in mental health and community care.

"Recovery is extremely fragile and trust leaders are concerned that ongoing pressure from industrial action and staff shortages could block progress.

"The long-term workforce plan, which needs to be fully funded, should help alleviate some of this stress. We hope the chancellor announces it in the Spring Budget next week.

"With 72-hour strikes by junior doctors on the horizon, we need talks between doctors and the government urgently to resolve the dispute."

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