Following the release of NHS performance data for December which showed only 77.3% of patients were treated in emergency departments with four hours, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“These figures support the messages we have been getting from our members about conditions across the NHS and the struggle they are facing to provide safe and compassionate care in exceedingly difficult conditions.
“They also predate the influenza spread and escalation in England and, combined with the additional numbers of people in corridors on trolleys or as extra capacity, do not tell the extent of this crisis.
“NHS Providers is right when it says we are at a watershed moment in the health service and the government must recognise this – it has had long enough and been warned of this dangers enough times in the last two years alone.
“The data hides the misery and lack of dignity some people are being treated with and it is a potentially worrying side note that the Care Quality Commission is postponing inspections during ‘winter’.
“We would like to reiterate our call to the health secretary to meet and talk to us and establish a meaningful two-way dialogue – so far we have been met by a wall of silence which is an affront to patients and clinicians providing acute medical care.
“I would like to personally thank all staff working in our acute medical units across the nation whatever their job or seniority who are helping to hold everything together, as well as those of any discipline who have answered the calls for help and have come to help us at the sharp end.”