Winter pressures felt across all NHS sectors

09 January 2020

Responding to the latest monthly combined performance data from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the weekly winter reporting data, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin said:

“Today’s figures show just how severe the pressure is on health and care services this winter. Emergency care is under particular strain with increased levels of demand in A&E departments. We have once again seen performance against the four hour standard slip to a record low. Yet frontline staff are working flat out to treat patients safely despite the huge pressures they face.

“We have also seen a worrying increase in the delays for patients between the decision to admit and admission – more than eight times as many patients waited over 12 hours this December compared to December last year. Having patients waiting in corridors or temporary beds in this way has risks for wider patient safety.

Ambulance services are working at full stretch, responding to more incidents than ever before in December and bringing record numbers of patients to hospital.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“These pressures are also felt across mental health trusts, community services and the ambulance sector. Ambulance services are working at full stretch, responding to more incidents than ever before in December and bringing record numbers of patients to hospital. This has continued into the new year and with emergency departments already full patients will be the ones to feel the impact. It is worrying that almost one in five patients face ambulance handover delays of more than 30 minutes despite the best efforts of staff.

“These pressures have also been exacerbated by flu and norovirus.

While trusts are working closely with system partners, they are telling us that the lack of social care and community care places is having a real impact on demand and getting patients out of hospital.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“While trusts are working closely with system partners, they are telling us that the lack of social care and community care places is having a real impact on demand and getting patients out of hospital. The number of people staying in hospital over a week is higher than any point in time last winter.

“We know that winter is always a busy time for the NHS, but these pressures are growing year on year due to rising demand. We need to see a real long-term investment in social care as well as in staff, facilities and beds and a shift in focus towards treating people in the community where appropriate.”

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