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Twenty-nine trusts and NHS boards have missed every single target this year

A new analysis from the BBC has revealed that 29 hospital trusts and boards have missed every single one of their targets so far this year, while one in five local hospital services “consistently” fail to meet waiting time targets.

Northern Ireland was found to be struggling the worst in the UK, with all five trusts failing to hit A&E, cancer and routine operations targets every time so far this year.

The NHS struggles with soaring demand each year in winter. NHS Providers has cautioned that the health service is stuck in an “unsustainable cycle of severe winter pressures,” and fears this winter may be even worse than last.

The Royal College of Nursing warned today that pressure from this summer will have a knock-on effect this winter, as its acting chief executive, Dame Donna Kinnair, said that the NHS enters this winter “on the back foot.”

Some trusts have already started taking measures ahead of the anticipated winter pressures, with Wye Valley NHS Trust today announcing it will be temporarily closing some of its minor injury units to focus efforts on more urgent care needs, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust this month announcing it would be teaming up with the local fire service to transport early-discharge patients back home this winter.

The new president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Andrew Goddard, even went as far as to suggest that there should be a ‘National Social Care Service’ in order to release pressure in the NHS, especially in winter.

Prof Goddard told NHE: “One of the solutions to winter is much, much better social care—we tend to focus on hospitals because we can see the hospitals queuing outside, and you don’t really see ambulances queuing up outside nursing homes—it’s not quite as good a picture on the front page of the patients—but perhaps we ought to do that and focus on nursing home care.”

Worryingly, last month saw the lowest percentage of NHS patients seen within four hours during any October since records began, with NHS Partners Network’s chief executive David Hare saying that it is “essential that investment urgently gets to the frontline.”


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