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SAM president warns NHS ‘faces turmoil’ this winter

Commenting on an analysis by the Health Foundation which suggests at least £360m extra funding may be needed for the NHS to meet the four-hour A&E target this winter, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“The NHS has not recovered from last winter and we have a disillusioned workforce being asked to do more with less every day.

“We know there is currently insufficient capacity in the system, with the number of beds decreasing and medically-fit patients being unable to be discharged due to a lack of infrastructure

“We face turmoil if the system comes under pressure as it simply does not have the capacity to sustain and, despite all the talk, there is little progress with any long or medium-term winter plans despite the same issues occurring. All we see are unsustainable quick fixes.”


Top doctor warns “isolation culture” could send NHS into winter chaos

A top doctor has said there is a “culture of isolation” among medical and healthcare bodies which could send the NHS into chaos this winter.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said there were multiple groups trying to “solve” winter pressures but “nothing joined up” – with direction from the secretary of state for health “almost non-existent”.

“There are currently lots of different areas and groups, including the Royal College of Physicians, Academy of Royal Colleges and NHS Improvement’s emergency care intensive support team (ECIST) and the getting it right first time programme (GIRFT), all putting their own spin on things,” he explained.

“Clearly there has already been lots of focus on accident and emergency departments, with the government’s pledge earlier this year of an extra £100 million for struggling units and various announcements from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

“However, this is all muddying the waters and resulting in a lack of team-working, with direction and leadership, as well as public acknowledgment of the major issues we face, from the health secretary almost non-existent.”

Dr Scriven, who warned last month that a bad flu season could “overwhelm” hospitals, reiterated his concerns about a lack of plans to cope with a winter crisis and said trusts were “still focused on short-term financial savings”.

“The NHS has not really recovered from last winter including a disillusioned workforce being asked to do more with less every day,” he said.
“Despite all the talk, there is little progress with any winter plans, with trusts still focused, it feels, on short-term financial savings with no long or even medium-term planning – it is all quick fixes with no real concept of the future.

“What this means is that we end up with the government backing off and leaving professional bodies and groups to fend for themselves and their areas, which can be divisive and distracts everyone from the real issues which need tackling if we are to overcome this unrelenting tide.”
Dr Scriven called on the secretary of state to take responsibility for ensuring the NHS is as prepared as possible and to develop a “united approach” to the pressures being faced by hospitals across the country.

“We know there are three significant factors which need addressing immediately if we are to begin developing medium and long-term plans to develop a sustainable NHS in the face of a growing frailer and older population – capacity, an obsession with the four-hour emergency access target and social care,” he said.

“There is currently insufficient capacity in hospitals. With trusts trying to save costs there is less spare space in the system with no spare staff if needed so, if extra capacity is made available, it is last minute, ad hoc and expensive (locums and agency staff) which reduces efficiency and increases risk.

“Without a robust plan forcing trusts to cancel elective work any minor surge will cause issues.”

He added: “We also know trusts ‘treating’ the emergency access ED target in isolation end up hiding problems and stresses deeper in hospitals and there is not enough community care of sufficient quality to meet any demand.

“These issues don’t come as any surprise, so how long are we to go on without the secretary of state being held to account for not addressing the problems we know have the potential to push the NHS into utter chaos this winter?”


Readmission figures ‘worrying and require investigation’ – SAM president

Commenting on figures which show the number of patients in England being readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge has risen by nearly a quarter in the last four years, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“These figures are worrying and follow quickly on the heels of failures to meet A&E and ambulance targets across the NHS and require further investigation and analysis by NHS England.

“The significant issues we are seeing on the healthcare system means errors made or social care inadequate are impacting on patients and carers but also putting unnecessary extra pressure on front door teams.”


Leading doctor warns NHS could “break far worse” this winter

A leading doctor has warned the NHS could “break far worse” this winter as the system faces the prospect of a major flu outbreak.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM), said despite much talk nationally of adequate preparations, frontline staff feel there is “nothing new other than crossed fingers”.

He also said elective, or routine, activity “will almost certainly cease for several months” as hospitals struggle to cope with growing pressures as a result of a reduction in the number of beds and the ongoing crisis in social care.

“Over the last two to three years we haven’t had to deal with any major outbreaks of infection such as norovirus or flu, but this year we are predicting a bad flu season that will overwhelm us after what we’ve witnessed in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“For all the talk of preparations, on the ground it feels as though there is nothing new this year other than crossed fingers – which is fair comment as the government has failed to tackle effectively the issues behind the pressures we face.”

He added: “If, as we expect, we see a flu outbreak, I think the NHS – in terms of both beds and clinical staff – will break far worse than last year and elective activity will almost certainly cease for several months.”

Dr Scriven pointed to a decline in bed numbers – with an estimate of 5,000 additional beds required to enable the NHS to survive the winter months – delayed discharges and recruitment difficulties as the “determining factors”.

Acute medicine, also known as acute internal medicine, deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present to hospital as emergencies.

The specialty receives the majority of patients admitted from A&E and plays a vital role in maintaining the flow of patients through emergency departments to avoid exit block, the term used when patients cannot be moved into a hospital bed.

“We constantly see the government roll out the same lines, such as the increasing numbers of patients being treated in the NHS every year and the investment being made in social care,” Dr Scriven said.

“The problem is, how can an argument be made for increasing numbers of patients being handled effectively when the number of beds available is not only not growing but is actually decreasing.

“Added to the ongoing issues of medically-fit patients being unable to be discharged due to a lack of infrastructure, we face turmoil if the system comes under pressure it simply does not have the capacity to sustain.”


SAM president calls for ‘right support and infrastructure’ to tackle delayed discharges

Following publication of a study in the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which suggests the rise in mortality rates since 2015 could be explained by changes in the number of delayed discharges of NHS patients, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“We, along with many other health professionals, have consistently raised the issue of delayed discharges over the past three years while the government failed to acknowledge the scale of the crisis in social care and the record numbers of delayed discharges in our hospitals as a result.

“As more evidence becomes available of the effects, more pressure grows to ensure the right support and infrastructure is in place to discharge medically-fit patients safely and that is essential to patient safety as well as the sustainability of the NHS.”


Bed reduction a ‘major risk’ to patients – SAM president 

Following a report released today by the King’s Fund on declining bed numbers in the NHS, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“Bed reduction and fast turnover is a major risk to patients across the NHS, with hospital-acquired infection rates increased by over-occupancy and quick turnarounds.

“This ultimately leads to a reduction in the quality of overall care and results in compromises such as cleaning spaces between patients and increased risk of emergency readmission.

“We have seen the majority of hospitals just about cope by squeezing length of stay to the lowest it has been but as beds shut it will become virtually impossible to safely decrease this any further.

“Further decline in hospital beds will have huge impact on how clinicians work at the ‘front door’ at a time when flow through the whole hospital system is crucial to the sustainability of services when under extreme pressure.”

See today’s news for more information:

Government needs to ‘take stock of failings’ over recruitment 

Following a report released today by the Royal College of Nursing on nursing shortages in the NHS, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“This report provides stark reading but it certainly comes as no surprise to those of us on the ground.

“There is an ongoing recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS, largely as a result of increasing pressure on overworked staff to meet targets and an unwillingness to engage on the NHS pay cap, so the government needs take stock of the impact of its failings.

“Nurses leaving high workload and high stress areas such as emergency and acute medicine for perceived less stressful areas such as community work is now commonplace and the ever-increasing reliance on agency cover is not sustainable.”



A leading doctor has said parts of new national guidelines to improve treatment and care for patients with sepsis were “currently unachievable” and could lead to delays in transfers from emergency departments.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s quality standards for the condition – a life-threatening blood infection – contained advice on consultant reviews not agreed with specialist medical societies.

The guidance suggests people with suspected sepsis who receive treatment in emergency departments are seen by a consultant if their condition fails to respond within an hour of initial treatment.

However, Dr Scriven warned there was no evidence available regarding its effectiveness and currently no way it could be implemented due to the large number of unfilled consultant posts across the NHS.

He said the alternative would be for patients to remain in emergency departments until stable

“Clearly anything that is designed to help the early recognition and treatment of this condition is a step in the right direction,” he said.

“However, in the current climate of unfilled consultant jobs in ‘front door’ specialties – up to 40% of consultant appointments unfilled in 2016 – and financial constraints, this is not a practical solution and is currently unachievable.

“It could lead to delays in transfer from emergency departments or have major implications on an already stretched and strained senior medical workforce..”

Dr Scriven said he had “significant concerns” about why the standard – QS4 – was not contained in the initial standards shared with specialist societies for discussion and comment and was not mentioned in NICE’s publicly-available minutes.

“We have submitted our concerns to NICE to ask how inclusion of this standard occurred, the evidence used to recommend it and how NICE believes it could be implemented safely,”


SAMBirmingham 2017 Posters

Click on the links below to view the posters selected for display at SAMBirmingham

More will be added as we receive them

To view the presentations from DAY 1, click here

To view the presentations from DAY 2, click here


Audit & Quality Improvement Posters

AQI 04 A Sticker can improve Documentation and Management of Acute Hyponatraemia

AQI 05 Acute Kidney Injury – A NICE Checklist

AQI 08 Assessment for change

AQI 09 Blood transfusions in the acute medical setting

AQI 14 Developing an ambulatory pathway for Iron Deficiency Anaemia

AQI 16 Effectiveness of the presence of Higher Monitoring Unit (HMU) in a Tertiary Referral University Hospital

AQI 18 Exploring patient experience needs in ambulatory care

AQI 19 Exploring therapists’ perceptions of complexity to develop a therapy complexity scale for use on the Frailty Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital

AQI 21 High Observation with in Emergency Assessment Unit; Improving Patient Safety

AQI 22 How knowledge of patterns of influencing in AMU can inform Quality Improvement work

AQI 27 Improving Patient Flow with the 100% Challenge

AQI 28 Improving Smoking Cessation Practices in the MAU

AQI 32 Introduction of an Ambulatory Emergency Care bundle for Pulmonary Embolism at Nobles Hospital

AQI 38 Please Do Not Attempt Resuscitation! An audit on the appropriateness of DNA CPR decisions & documentation in the Princess Royal University Hospital 2017

AQI 39 Preparation for ST3 Facilitating Core Medical Trainees to act up as a medical registrar

AQI 40 Prescription of IV Fluid Therapy for Fluid Resuscitation

AQI 43 Resuscitation Equipment Education Programme

AQI 44 Headaches Presenting to ED Do We Over Investigate

AQI 47 Staff experiences of a new model of consultant delivered front door decision making

AQI 49 Ultrasound compression sensitivity for deep vein thrombosis in intravenous drug users

AQI 51 Clerking Co Production

AQI 52 Use of sepsis scoring systems to predict 24-hour ICU admission and 30-day mortality:  Which score should we use to screen patients with adult sepsis?

AQI 54 What do you mean ‘urgent’?


Case Report Posters

CR 03 A story of RBC in a man

CR 11 Can Caffeine Overdose cause Rhabdomyolysis?

CR 12 Crystal-induced nephropathy secondary to high dose intravenous aciclovir

CR 13 Diagnostic fixation error: The hidden diagnosis of hypopituitarism in the patient with Bell’s Palsy

CR 21 Non resolving cellulitis: Have you checked the medications?

CR 24 Posterior circulation stroke due to large vessel vasculitis ie. Giant cell arteritis

CR 26 Status epilepticus – a rare cause of unusual electrolytes


Education Posters

E 01 Actrapid Prescriptions – what do we know

E 03 Consultant Interruptions on the Acute Medical Unit

E 05 Gastroenteritis that wasn’t (or, the day the hoofbeats were zebra)

E 06 Improving MET calls as a form of learning experience

E 10 Postural Ignorance

E 11 Near Peer Teaching on the AMU

E 15 The Appropriateness of Current Teaching and Training in Acute Medicine

E 16 The Business of Learning Exploring the junior doctors’ perspective of the medical ward round – An ethnographic study


Research Posters

R 03 Calculated globulin – an under-utilised test in identifying immunodeficiency?

R 04 Can the acute hospital admission be used as an opportunity to record patients’ physical activity level and provide physical activity advice

R 08 Frailty Syndromes coded within Secondary User Service

R 09 Investigating the utility of the Modified Miller Score to improve healthcare resource allocation post-pulmonary embolism

R 14 Using D-dimer as a continuous variable to predict likelihood of pulmonary embolism

R 15 What’s up with wee Jimmy


Service Organisation & Design Posters

SOD 02 Complex Care Management Medicines Optimisation

SOD 5 Frequency and volume; what works best for acute take

SOD 11 Modelling bed occupancy for acute medical admissions shows peaks are followed by spontaneous resolution

SOD 15 Tap and Go on the AMU: Improving clinicians experience of Electronic Patient Records

SOD 16 The impact of Consultant-delivered decision making at the front door of the Emergency Department

SOD 17 The introduction of a healthcare assistant to help doctors during on-call work at night at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI)



SAMBirmingham 2017 Presentations – Day 2

Tuesday 12 September

Those presentations that we have received permission to share are available by clicking on the links below


How NOT to write an Abstract, Dr Chris Subbe & Dr Nicola Cooper

Association Young Persons Health/RCP Joint Project: Dr Lorraine Albon & Dr Louella Vaughan

How electronic tracking can improve patient care, Dr Gurkaran Samra



Quality Standards in Acute Medicine, Dr Mark Holland

How many Doctors do we Need, Dr Andrew Goddard

New Ways of Managing Patient Flow, Jim Mackey



What should I be looking out for with an unwell patient?

Surgeon Commander Dennis Freshwater

Dr Rebecca Herbert

DOACs to Use or Not to Use: That is the Question

Dr Charalampos Kartsios



Therapy Competencies, Georgia Harding & Tahlia Levin

Silver Trauma in AMU, Meg Farrington

Implementation of an ENA Tool, Tash Kelly

Chest Pain Assessment, Helen Gaunt



NCEPOD – Acute Mental Health, Dr Sean Cross & Dr Vivek Srivastava

NCEPOD & NIV, Dr Mark Juniper

Reclassifying and Treating Acute Heart Failure, Professor Andrew Clark



How to get into ITU, Dr Chris Bassford

The Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care & Treatment, Dr Zoe Fritz



What Should Our Workforce Be, Dr Tehmeena Khan

Models of staffing, Physician Associates, Dr Natalie King

New Models of Care, Joining the Dots, Ian Setchfield

Mind the Gap Report, Dr Kerry Jones



Emergency O2 Guidelines, Dr Ronan O’Driscoll

Home Mechanical Ventilation, Dr Martin Latham

To Thrombolyse or not to Thrombolyse in PE, Professor Mark Kramer



Understaffed & Overstretched – Providing Compassionate, High Quality Care for Patients, Xiaohong Williams

Looking After the Profession – When the Wheels Come Off, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar

Acute Medicine to the Rescue & How We Further Develop, Professor Derek Bell

The State of Acute Medicine, Dr Nick Scriven


SAMBirmingham 2017 Presentations – Day 1

Monday 11 September

Those presentations that we have received permission to share are available by clicking on the links below


International Comparisons of Models of Acute Care, Dr Louella Vaughan

Health & Social Care Rationing, Professor Pete Murphy

Is Integration the Answer, Professor Jon Glasby



In NHS England, Dr Cliff Mann

In NHS Scotland, Alan Hunter

The Nursing Viewpoint, Professor Mark Radford



Becoming a Consultant, Dr Paarul Prinja

Lessons for the NMD’s Clinical Fellow Scheme, Dr Ashling Lillis

AIM specialist skills, Dr Ben Chadwick



Acute Rheumatology Problems, Dr Tom Kennedy

Acute Liver Problems, Dr Andrew Holt

Acute Neurological Problems, Dr David Nicholl

Acute Colitis in the AMU, Dr Fraser Cummings



Professor Rob George



A National Advance Practice Framework, Professor Mark Radford

Advanced Practice Credentialing, Oliver Phipps

RPS Roadmap to Advanced Practice, Chris John



Early Rule In Early Rule Out ACS, Professor Nicholas Mills

Unstable Angina is a Medical Condition until Proven Cardiology: A Pro-Con Debate

Dr Derek Connolly, Dr Adrian Large & Debbie Jackson



Reflection, How it Should be Done, Dr Mark Holland

Tough Times & How the Light Gets In, Dr Juline Smit

Patient and clinician perspectives, Professor Jane MacNaughton



Developing Emergency Ambulatory Care, Dr Sunil Lobo

Developing an Integrated Approach to Ambulatory Care through the Tiers of Practice Model, Professor Kim Manley

From Pharmacist Prescriber to Advanced Practitioner, Kirsty Elliott



Unpicking the Weekend Effect, Rachel Meacock

Anticholinergic Medications, Dr Immo Weichert


SAM media spotlight

As part of SAM Birmingham, we have published a summary of media activity from September 2016 to August 2017 for members and attendees.

The document provides a summary of some of the major issues affecting acute medicine and the NHS which SAM has discussed and commented on throughout the year.

View SAM media spotlight.



SAM in the media – September 2016 to August 2017

Over the past year, SAM has issued 25 statements and press releases to national and specialist media to improve the organisation’s presence in the media and help influence and and lead national debate.

SAM has featured on national broadcasters including BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 and ITV News, radio stations including BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and LBC and many national newspapers.

President Dr Mark Holland and his team focused on NHS performance data and winter pressures, social care funding and delayed discharges, government contingency plans for winter, staffing and the NHS pay cap.

Dr Holland’s statement on NHS performance data for August 2016 (released in October 2016), in which he described the NHS being “on its knees”, was referred to by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a Prime Minister’s Questions debate.

All statements and press releases have also been publicised via social media channels Twitter and Facebook.

September 2016

System ‘close to breaking point’ – SAM president

Coverage on BBC News Online and The Guardian:

Sky News interview (arranged during previous month) was broadcast:

Issued press release with Dr Holland based on comments made in the Sky News interview:

NHS will see ‘pockets of meltdown’ this winter – Dr Mark Holland

Covered by media including The Guardian, The Times, Daily Mirror, The Herald (front page), Pulse Today, BBC News, the Daily Mail, Heart FM, Talk Radio, The Courier, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5 Live. The story featured on 65 national radio stations in total.

October 2016

SAM president’s response to Jeremy Hunt’s conference speech

SAM president warns NHS is ‘on its knees’

The statement was covered by The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, the Daily Express, BBC News Online, The Sun and The Independent. Dr Holland also recorded a short interview which was broadcast on BBC News and was interviewed on LBC Radio in London.

It was also referred to during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and covered by BBC News (from 2:20 onwards).

November 2016

Statement from previous month, which referred to the NHS being “on its knees”, featured in an article in the i newspaper (i news).

Meet Gary and Georgette: the specialist paramedics running a unique out of hours service that could be a model for rural communities across the country

Issued comment from Dr Holland on latest NHS performance data:

SAM president calls on Parliament to ask ‘robust questions’

This was covered by BBC News health editor Hugh Pym for BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

Issued comment from Dr Holland on BBC News report into pressures facing ambulance services across the NHS:

Support to discharge patients “central” to releasing pressure on NHS – Dr Mark Holland

This comment was covered widely in the media, featuring in the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, ITV News, the Huffington Post, the Manchester

Evening News and more than 40 local and regional newspapers across the country.

December 2016

Continuing on from last month (30 Nov), comment from Dr Holland on BBC News report into pressures facing ambulance services across the NHS featured in The Times and online:

Worked with Dr Holland on a response to announcement of additional government social care funding and issued to media:

Top doctor says government action over social care ‘too little too late’

Covered by The Guardian and The Sun:

OAPs are left stranded in hospital for up to a year because of delays finding home care

It was then quoted again in a lead story in The Observer:

Following the release of SAM’s statement on social care, Dr Holland was asked to comment on NHS Improvement’s pre-Christmas instructions to trusts to cancel many non-urgent operations.

January 2017

Issued press release calling on government to announce contingency plans for January:

Top doctor calls on government to announce NHS contingency plans ahead of ‘worst January’

This was covered by The Guardian, ITV News, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the i newspaper, The Sun and The Morning Star.

References to the press release continued and SAM president Dr Mark Holland took part in a BBC Radio 2 interview on the Jeremy Vine show to discuss A&E attendances (Friday 6 Jan).

He then talked to The Guardian about increasing pressures and reports of the deaths of two patients left to wait on trolleys at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Following this, Dr Holland appeared on BBC Breakfast News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and on the news bulletins of BBC Radio 1, Radio Essex, Radio Kent, Radio Suffolk, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leicester, Radio Humberside, Radio Tees and Radio Newcastle.

On Sunday (8 Jan), Dr Holland appeared in The Observer’s front page story where he called on May to convene a special version of Cobra, the committee summoned only in national emergencies. He was later interviewed by ITV Granada.

Following the first comments to be made on the current pressures facing emergency and acute care in hospitals by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Dr Holland responded with the following statement:

SAM president’s ‘disbelief’ at health secretary’s comments

This featured in a number of national newspapers and as the main story on Sky News bulletins throughout the day on Monday (9 January) and was included in the Daily Mail’s front page article:

Jeremy Hunt says the NHS’ four-hour waiting target to see patients in A&E will in future ONLY apply to ‘urgent problems’

On Monday evening (9 January), Dr Holland appeared briefly on Channel 4 News to discuss the current situation and Mr Hunt’s comments so far.

Issued statement on health scretary’s comments in response to growing winter pressures:

SAM president’s ‘disbelief’ at health secretary’s comments

This featured in a number of national newspapers and as the main story on Sky News bulletins throughout the day on Monday 9 January. It was also included in a Daily Mail front page story.

Issued comment from Dr Mark Holland on a BBC report on leaked NHS Improvement documents:

‘A blizzard in an eternal winter’ – SAM president

Covered by The Sun and the Daily Mail, while Dr Holland also carried out interviews with BBC North West Tonight and BBC Radio Manchester.

Issued SAM statement on RCP letter to the Prime Minister:

RCP letter to PM a ‘significant milestone’

Issued SAM president’s comments on the Prime Minister’s response to pressures facing NHS hospitals:

SAM president warns of ‘becoming immune’ to Prime Minister’s responses

Covered by The Morning Star.

Issued SAM president’s comments on release of NHS black alert data:

‘Government must accept we now face national emergency in NHS’ – SAM president

Dr Holland was interviewed live on BBC Radio 5 Live and his comments were picked up by The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Edited and published Dr Mark Holland’s comments on BMA’s letter to the Prime Minister:

‘Marginalising and attacking GPs wrong’ – SAM president

Covered by the Daily Mail.

February 2017

Issued statement drafted with Dr Holland on NHS performance data for December:

SAM president calls on health secretary to acknowledge “universal truth” about NHS

Issued a comment from Dr Holland on a King’s Fund report on STPs which featured in the i newspaper:

STPs need to convince us of ability to deliver – SAM president

NHS reform plans not credible without added investment, King’s Fund report warns

Issued a statement on an RCP report relating to NHS pressures with Dr Holland:

RCP report could provide “catalyst for change” in the NHS – SAM president

March 2017

Issued a statement with Dr Holland on Chancellor’s Spring Budget.

SAM president responds to chancellor’s Spring Budget

Issued statement and shortened version of SAM’s position on NHS pressures with Dr Holland following release of latest performance data:

Acute medicine: The solution the NHS chooses to ignore

Dr Alistair Douglas commented on “boarding” in Scotland’s hospitals for The Times (which resulted from previous statements issued by SAM highlighting the issue):

April 2017

Issued statement on NHS performance data for February with Dr Holland:

SAM president says ‘fight for better care must go on’

Worked with Guardian health correspondent Denis Campbell to provide SAM response on rota gaps:

Developed press release on the SAM survey with Dr Holland and issued to media:

Doctors in acute medicine paint “worrying” picture of NHS

BBC News requested a comment from SAM on purdah and the NHS. Comment supplied from Dr Holland and featured widely in national media (BBC News, Daily Mirror, i newspaper, The Independent).

Government accused of cover up over ‘delay’ in publishing NHS deficit

This was also covered by BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Gloucester, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio Linolnshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Guernsey, BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Tees, BBC Radio Sussex, BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Northampton.

June 2017

Developed a statement for upcoming story on hospital waiting times for The Guardian:

Following the comment provided on waiting times earlier in the month, Guardian reporter Denis Campbell asked for comment from SAM on nurse staffing levels. SAM president Dr Mark Holland quoted.

July 2017

Issued press release on NHS pay cap:

Top doctor calls on government to ‘stop disincentivising’ NHS staff

Issued a statement on NHS Digital data regarding vacancies across the NHS. Featured widely in national media, including BBC News Channel, Sky News and LBC Radio (interview with Dr Holland):

Recruitment data shows ‘neglect’ from the government – SAM president

Worked with Dr Holland on statement regarding NHS Professionals and submitted to The Guardian:

Threat to NHS Professionals ‘sad and alarming’ – SAM president

August 2017

Issued statement on NHS performance data for June:

Surgery waits another ‘damning indictment’ of NHS crisis, says SAM president

Covered widely in the national media, including The Metro, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Sun.

Record high of 4m wait for NHS ops

Number of patients waiting for NHS operations topped FOUR million for the first time in a decade


Surgery waits another ‘damning indictment’ of NHS crisis, says SAM president

Statement regarding NHS performance data released today by NHS England which shows the number of patients waiting for surgery is at its highest level since 2007.

Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“This shocking figure is another damning indictment of the crisis we are experiencing in the NHS and is another example of how every unresolved problem impacts on another area.

“Everything is interlinked – a delayed discharge in a patient waiting for social care deprives a surgical patient of their bed.

“It is a fact that the NHS has less beds than other health economies and it is a fact that we have a workforce crisis. We need these problems to be addressed and to do this we need a proper strategic plan.

“I anticipate that today we will hear the usual defence rhetoric when the truth is that one of the richest nations on the planet is consistently failing to deliver care in line with its own standard.

“Until we see an a genuine acknowledgement that we are facing a crisis, we will never create a sustainable future for the NHS.”


Threat to NHS Professionals ‘sad and alarming’ – SAM president

Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, comments in The Guardian on Labour’s request for the National Audit Office to look into the sale of government-owned recruitment firm NHS Professionals.

He said: “During its history the NHS has always been subject to change.

“With Brexit looming and fundamental changes on the horizon, such as sustainability and transformation plans, one would think that the sensible strategy for the NHS right now would be to maintain those services that work well and are cost effective.

“If the threat to NHSP is true and if privatisation is the answer, it would not be unreasonable for those of us who truly care about the NHS to view this as a significant milestone in moving towards a totally private NHS.

“This news is both sad and alarming. I hope the public recognise that this is a fundamental event which more than ever defines our government’s attitude to the NHS. If the NHS was a patient this would be a terminal diagnosis.”


Recruitment data shows ‘neglect’ from the government – SAM president

Figures released today by NHS Digital show there were 86,055 advertised full-time vacancies in the NHS in the first quarter of 2017 compared with 78,112 in the same period last year (NHS Digital).

In addition, figures for NHS England show that, in March, there were 30,613 vacant full-time equivalent positions advertised, compared to 26,424 in the same month in 2016.

Commenting on the data, Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“These figures highlight the desperate situation we face in recruitment in the NHS and is a culmination of neglect from the government in a number of areas.

“Removing the pay cap on NHS staff, particularly the lowest paid, is long overdue, while the extra pressure on overworked frontline staff to meet targets must be eased.

“This data shows it is high time we saw steps taken to stop disincentivising staff – salaries must be fair, working conditions must be safe and sustainable and clear career pathways must be in place.”