The demands on NHS staff are unsustainable

30 November 2021

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson was interviewed this lunchtime on the BBC News channel about winter pressures and the extension of the vaccination programme. Here is a summary comment:

"The next step of extending and accelerating the vaccination programme will be a complex, logistical challenge, but the NHS has demonstrated repeatedly it can adapt quickly to keep people safe from the virus.

"The Omicron variant has come at a time when the NHS is under unprecedented pressure, despite not yet being in the normal winter peak.

"This pressure is a combination of 6,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital, severe demands on urgent and emergency care, and an unprecedented backlog of people waiting for treatment.

"Trust leaders understand they must address that backlog as quickly as possible, but the NHS has finite capacity.

"If the number of COVID-19 patients increases, such as when it went up to 34,000 people in January last year, then this pressure will continue to grow.

"Staff are working incredibly hard, but are being asked time and time again to rise to the challenge. This is unsustainable.

"We need a fully costed and funded workforce plan to make sure the NHS has the right number of staff with the right skills.

"We are deeply disappointed that MPs recently voted against on the amendment put forward by Jeremy Hunt on the Health and Care Bill on long term workforce planning.

"The NHS will continue to do its best to continue to look after people, but it is worrying to see it so severely stretched as we head into winter."