latest health care news

07.12.17

Ambulance services creaking under strain as delays steadily rise

Figures from NHS England’s winter situation report have revealed that services are already feeling the strain of winter.

Over the past week the ambulance service across England has seen over 1,800 delays of over 60 minutes, and calls to 111 have steadily increased.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that these preliminary figures indicate “a huge amount of strain”, and that this is without a flu outbreak or cold weather.

He added that a weather warning has been issued for the weekend, and so he expects things to get worse.

“The ambulance sector is under real pressure with rising emergency activity and delays at some hospitals.

“Like everyone else, they are just-about-coping, but that’s largely thanks to the fact we are better prepared for winter than ever before,” he said.

Dickson stressed the importance of remembering that winter planning and resilience also means local services, such as GPs and mental health services being prepared, and not just hospitals and EDs.

“Only by focusing more on out-of-hospital care can we even begin to reduce the demand on the hospitals which are now at bursting at the seams,” he continued.

“The number one priority needs to be fundamental reform of social care provision – but sadly the political class continues to kick the issue down the road.”

Stressing the “human cost”, Dickson explained that parents are being turned away from hospitals, learning that their child’s operation has been cancelled, and for two days last month there was just one available paediatric intensive care bed in London.

“Add to that a 16% rise in Norovirus cases compared with last year and more than 1,800 patients stuck in ambulances outside A&E departments in one week and we can clearly see a system which is struggling to cope.

“Extra money in the budget was welcome but £335m was frankly too little too late – and it did nothing to ease the social care crisis,” he concluded.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

Terry John, co-chair of the BMA & BDA Refugee Doctors and Dentists Liaison Group and chair of the union’s international committee, talks about a brilliant initiative that is proving mutual more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Strategic investment planning

13/12/2017Strategic investment planning

Paul Turton, head of solutions development at NHS Supply Chain, looks at ho... more >
A fight worth fighting

13/12/2017A fight worth fighting

Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPs... more >

interviews

Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed ... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Ten lessons to support new care models locally

29/11/2017Ten lessons to support new care models locally

Anna Starling, policy fellow at the Health Foundation, offers the top 10 lessons for local leaders seeking to make systematic improvements across services, all based on first-... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

December 2017

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >