Time for a reality check about what the NHS can deliver

11 August 2016

The monthly performance figures from NHS England for June 2016 have been published.  The statistics cover the full range of indicators including emergency admission, delayed transfers of care, waiting times for diagnostics testing and referral to treatment, cancer services, and early intervention in psychosis.

The figures highlight that the NHS continues to work with increasing demand, with greater volumes of urgent and emergency care activity alongside elective treatment.  Key points to note are:


Commenting on the figures, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said:

 

“These increases in demand continue to concern us – the NHS simply cannot cope on its existing funding levels with 3.3% increases in A&E attendances, 3.7% increases in emergency admissions and 4% increases in consultant-led elective care every year. There is now a clear and widening gap between what NHS services are being expected to deliver and the funding they are receiving. It’s time to acknowledge this gap and stop pretending that it doesn’t exist.

 

“Leaders of acute, mental health, community and ambulance services are doing their level best to maintain the world-class standards of access and quality the NHS is rightly renowned for, but frontline services remain under extreme pressure. Today’s figures once again reveal the difficulties that trusts are facing when discharging patients that are medically fit to leave hospitals – the number of delayed transfers of care days are now the highest since records began in 2010, which is a major cause for concern.

 

“And care provided to people with mental health problems is also showing the strain, with more than half of patients with mental health problems needing to start treatment waiting for more than two weeks. This is something that mental health trusts are working hard to improve but they are under significant pressure. 

 

“The time has come for a reality check about what the NHS can deliver within its available funding. What we cannot keep doing is passing the financial pressure onto NHS trusts by asking them to deliver the impossible and chastising them when they fall short. This places an increasingly intolerable burden on NHS staff whose commitment and discretionary effort are the lifeblood of our NHS.”

 

 



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