Winter pressures now a year-round event for the health and care system
07 November 2018
- The British Medical Association (BMA) has published a new analysis of NHS England performance data ahead of winter
- It warns that emergency care services in England are now suffering a “year-round crisis"
- It finds that performance against key standards was worse during the summer of 2018 than five out of eight recent winters.
The director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said:
“The BMA is right to flag the likelihood that a challenging winter season lies ahead for trusts and their local partners, and for staff and patients. Many improvements have been put in place this year to prepare trusts and their staff for the pressures that winter will inevitably bring. But with performance against key standards in a worse position than last year, and following an exceptionally busy summer, on balance, trusts fear this coming winter will be more difficult than the last.
“Accident and emergency departments are seeing more patients than ever within four hours, but overall demand continues to grow year on year with little relief over the summer months when trusts would typically reduce their waiting lists for treatment.
The long-term plan must be an opportunity to ensure local health and care systems are resourced to offer greater resilience in the face of rising demand.Director of Policy and Strategy
“Traditional winter pressures are now a year-round event. The long-term plan must be an opportunity to ensure local health and care systems are resourced to offer greater resilience in the face of rising demand. To do this, we must be realistic about what resource is required to meet patient need and recover performance.”
Read our recent report Steeling ourselves for winter 2018/19 which explores some of the key questions about the sector's preparedness for the coming winter, including financial and operational challenges.