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23.02.18

Pressures ‘far from easing’ even as spring approaches

Pressures on the NHS are intensifying despite the country now approaching the end of winter, NHS Providers has warned.

The comments come in response to NHS England’s latest winter situation report for last week, which reveals that almost 3,000 ambulance patients waited for over an hour before being handed over to A&E staff.

Bed occupancy remains above 94%, which is well above recommended safe levels, despite there being almost 25% more escalation beds than last year.

Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said these figures show that “far from easing as we start to head towards spring, the pressures on the NHS are intensifying.”

She acknowledged that trusts and frontline staff are doing all they can to provide care for patients, yet added: “But the increase in ambulance handover delays reflects the difficulties they face in ensuring there is enough capacity, including beds and staff, so that patients get the standard of care they have a right to expect.”

Cordery warned that these latest figures are further evidence to the “unsustainable pressures” that NHS Improvement’s Q3 financial data, published yesterday, demonstrated.

“They showed in stark detail how demand is rising much faster than funding,” she continued. “Trusts are not only having to treat larger numbers of patients but more of those patients have serious, complex illnesses. 

“Trust leaders increasingly are telling us ‘we cannot carry on like this.’ The warning signs are clear and in plain sight.”

This year will mark what has been described as the most challenging winter on record, with figures consistently continuing to demonstrate the difficulties faced by both NHS staff and patients.

Top image: sturti

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