The risks of running services at their limits
18 November 2021
Responding to the report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine "Crowding and its Consequences", the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said:
"The NHS is coming under enormous pressure and as we head into winter trusts are already working beyond full stretch.
"We highlighted trust leaders' concerns about this in our State of the Provider Sector report earlier this week.
"Trusts are working flat out to deliver the best possible care for patients under extremely challenging circumstances.
"But when we consistently run our health and care service at the limit of its capacity it doesn't take much extra pressure to increase risk to patient safety and quality of care.
"However the last 18 months have shown the NHS can be remarkably resilient under extreme pressure.
"There are two immediate steps the government can take.
"The first is emergency help for the social care sector to keep its existing workforce through a retention bonus of at least £500.
"Second, the government must give greater leadership on public health, with stronger messaging on what we all can do to manage risks from the virus, including exercising caution when mixing with people, wearing a mask in crowded places and ventilating rooms. And reinforcing the fact that it is vital for everyone eligible to be fully vaccinated.
"Longer term we need a fully costed and funded workforce plan, steps to put social care on a sustainable footing and more investment in public health and prevention and community services."