latest health care news

12.01.17

NHS ‘morale and resilience’ chipped away before winter really sets in

NHS England has released its combined performance summary for November of last year, noting the continuing long-term trend of rising activity and confirming fears that the winter period would have a hefty blow on the health service.

The monthly performance statistics have revealed that A&E attendances, emergency admissions, diagnostic tests and consultant-led treatment were all higher in November compared with the same month in 2015.

A&E attendances were up by a worrying 4.5% year-on-year with emergency admissions up 3.5%, while diagnostic tests went up by 4.8% and consultant-led treatment up by 4.4%.

Professor John Appleby, chief economist and director of research at the Nuffield Trust, said that the figures showed the NHS is under “significant pressure” but warned that signs of the most serious strain are yet to come and the “big test for the NHS will come in the weeks ahead”.

“We know from previous years that it’s generally later in the winter that the health service comes under the most serious strain – much more up to date figures reported this week indicate that last week alone, 18,000 patients were waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed, almost 500 of them for longer than 12 hours,” Prof Appleby said.

Our research has shown that a third of hospital trusts in December reported that they were either unable to deliver comprehensive care to patients or experiencing major pressures so I think the real picture now is far more serious than today’s figures for November indicate.”

The statistics found that 131 out of 139 major emergency departments failed to hit the four-hour A&E target, and that 54% more patients were stuck on trolleys for four hours compared to November 2015.

Patients facing delayed transfers of care were also the highest on record, with 6,825 patients waiting to be sent home from hospital at midnight on the last Thursday of November 2016. In all there were 193,680 ‘delayed days’ in November 2016.

Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation, said that the NHS has begun the winter “in a worse position than at any time for the past five years”, as it is squeezed between rising cost pressures and the underfunded social care system leading to delayed transfers.

“NHS nurses, doctors and managers are working extremely hard to ensure that a lack of capacity, pressure on beds and potential problems with care are identified early and averted,” Gardner said. “These pressures are chipping away at the morale and resilience of NHS staff before winter has really set in.”

Gardner concluded that the government needs to act “quickly and decisively” to fund the social care gap, stressing that this is not a problem that can be “kicked into the long grass”.

“The priority now is for local services across health and social care to be given the support and resources they need to work together to cope with growing pressures to provide efficient, effective care,” he said.

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

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 >