NHS winter pressures affecting 9% of people in England, survey finds

Adjust Comment Print

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs raised concerns about "alarming" reports that the Scottish Ambulance Service was struggling with a lack of call handlers in local call centres as well as crews on the road to cope with current high demand.

This month, New Cross Hospital, Walsall Manor Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital, Russells Hall Hospital and County Hospital were all ordered to cancel operations in a bid to free up beds and medical staff.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said earlier this week that winter flu would be a "key factor" for the NHS to deal with over the coming weeks.

"This year, with the current degree of winter pressure that we are feeling, this is the worst condition that I have ever seen the NHS in", Dr Adrian Harrop, an A&E doctor at Scarborough Hospital, said.

The figures show that bed occupancy levels have gone back up to 95%, but, more positively, delayed transfers of care - when a patient is ready to leave a hospital - were lower than at the same point in any of the past four years. The experts warn about the hazards of having overcrowded emergency departments.

The hospital has apologised to Esme and her family and stressed it is under "extreme pressure" due to a huge increase in the number of "very ill" patients it is treating.

The SNP leader spoke out as she came under sustained pressure from Ms Davidson, Labour leader Richard Leonard and Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie over the performance of the NHS this winter.

He added: "We are all proud of our NHS staff in enduring the conditions that have been created by Nicola Sturgeon, but is she really proud of what she has done to our NHS?"

More news: Assange now an Ecuadorean in London
More news: Massive, deep deposits of ice found on Mars
More news: Trump cancels London trip for embassy opening

The longer that the patients stay in ED after their treatment has been completed, the greater is their morbidity and associated mortality. Numerous trusts we work in are in similar positions.

People are waiting too long in A&E departments because there are no beds for them on wards, and because many of those hospital beds are taken up by patients who are waiting for their social care arrangements.

We have known for a number of years that recruitment of staff to Emergency Departments has been challenging. They have asked for infrastructure and strategies to reduce the overcrowding in the A&E departments.

Just over 40% of staff - including those who have with patients and those who do not - had had the jab. A number of independent organisations have confirmed that the United Kingdom has an inadequate acute bed base to meet the needs of its population.

The Royal College of Surgeons said it was "disappointing" that just 77.3 per cent of patients at major A&E departments were treated within four hours, worse than in December 2016 when 79.3 per cent of patients were seen.

It concludes: "We would like to apologise to our patients for being unable to fulfil our pledge for a safe efficient service and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of staff".

You will understand with the public interest in this matter that we have released this letter to the press also.

During the same week, 16,690 patients were also kept waiting in an ambulance for more than 30 minutes before they could be handed over to A&E, a slight improvement.