The real story of winter lays bare the strain NHS services are facing

02 May 2019

Responding to NHS Pressures – Winter 2018/19; A Hidden Crisis by the British Medical Association, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:

“These figures lay bare the strain that NHS services are facing.

“Although an ‘NHS crisis’ did not hit the media headlines this year, the real story of winter was characterised by the incredibly hard work of NHS staff to meet record levels of demand for emergency care.

Although an ‘NHS crisis’ did not hit the media headlines this year, the real story of winter was characterised by the incredibly hard work of NHS staff to meet record levels of demand for emergency care.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“This year we experienced unprecedented dips in performance in particular weeks of the winter as trusts and their partners struggled to meet rising demand for care. We must not fall into the trap of normalising the pressure on staff and the mismatch between demand for services and the capacity within the system to respond.

We must not fall into the trap of normalising the pressure on staff and the mismatch between demand for services and the capacity within the system to respond.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“The combination of rising demand coupled with severe workforce shortages across the health and care system is having a visible impact on both the length of time patients are left waiting for urgent care, cancer treatment and operations, and the morale and wellbeing of NHS staff.

“The forthcoming NHS workforce plan and NHS long term plan are vital for addressing this mismatch. We must move to a model where we are better supporting people to access the care they need closer to home or within community settings. This pressure does not only exist in the winter. In fact, deteriorating performance against key standards highlighted is a year-round phenomenon.

“Trusts will be continuing to learn lessons from winter performance as they already turn their attention to planning for this coming winter. This includes opportunities for better joint working with local partners to plan together to manage demand.”

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