latest health care news

13.07.18

NHS fast approaching winter dead-end as June performance welcomes Hancock with ‘baptism of fire’

Growing demand and a lack of performance improvement compared to June last year suggests that the NHS is heading towards another harsh winter, in what is proving to be “a baptism of fire” for the new health secretary.

Responding to the latest NHS England performance figures, healthcare bosses have insisted that the situation is clear: the system is under “intolerable strain” in what has now become the “day-to-day reality of life at the clinical coal face.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said the new funding settlement – “a lot more” than what has been offered in recent years, and long-term enough to provide some stability – is welcome, but is not enough and will have to be used wisely.

“This is a baptism of fire for the new health secretary,” added Dickson. “These performance figures show a system under intolerable strain with growing accident and emergency attendances and emergency admissions.”

The latest figures, accounting for June this year, show that there has been no performance around A&E waiting times compared to this time in 2017. Just over 90% of patients were seen within four hours, despite it being nearly the height of summer, and there was a 2.4% rise in the number of people attending emergency departments in the last 12 months.

Philippa Hentsch, head of analysis at NHS Providers, argued that everyone wants to avoid a repetition of the problems experienced last winter. But for that to happen, “you would need to see significant improvement compared to where we stood this time last year against key targets such as the four-hour standard in A&E.”

“The reality is that trusts are doing all they can. They are seeing many more patients than 12 months ago and performance in A&E has picked up since the winter, but we are no further forward than we were 12 months ago,” she continued.

“And as trusts battle to keep up with demand for urgent and emergency care, the challenge of recovering lost ground in preventing delays for routine operations becomes still greater.”

At the extreme end of the spectrum, almost 100 patients waited more than 12 hours to be seen at an A&E, a figure which is 80% higher than in June last year – in what Hentsch described as a “particularly worrying” problem that must be tackled as a priority.

“The writing is on the wall,” she said. “We need urgent action now to head off much worse problems ahead in the coming winter. Funding is needed to put in place the necessary staff, beds and other resources. We are fast approaching the point where it is too late for this year.”

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

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research published in The BMJ. The study ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

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 >