Winter bugs and strikes pile pressure on stretched NHS

22 February 2024

Responding to new winter situation report data from NHS England, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"The relentless pressure we're seeing on the NHS is unsustainable.

"The surge in bugs such as norovirus, flu and Covid-19 is putting already-stretched services under ever more strain.

"The high volume of ambulance callouts, staff sickness and bed occupancy – despite the recent boost in bed capacity – is layering challenge upon challenge.

"Delays in discharging patients from hospital also persist. Nearly 14,000 beds are taken up every day by patients who are fit to leave but can't – in part due to the capacity crunch in social care, which the government needs to address urgently.

"These pressures are reverberating throughout the entire health and care system, compounded by the mass disruption from ongoing strikes.

"Trust leaders and their staff are working incredibly hard, but they cannot weather this storm alone. 

"The NHS needs an urgent resolution to industrial action as well as long-term investment so trusts can focus on their top priority of delivering high-quality patient care."

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